We provide employment to 5,265 employees across our operations.
People remain the cornerstone that will enable Petra to achieve its shared purpose and strategy. It is for this reason that we invest in employing the best people, developing them to reach their full potential and retaining them to our mutual benefit. All of this is driven by our diversity and inclusion commitment.
Staff retention is particularly important for us, due to the limited local employment pool and the difficulty in attracting skilled employees from larger urban centres. Although there is still competition in the labour market for skilled employees (43% of Petra’s workforce in FY 2022), and a shortage of certain specialised skills, the strained South African economic conditions, have positively impacted staff retention.
Petra prioritises recruitment from the local area and communities as prescribed by our Social Labour Plans (SLPs). From a business perspective this reduces Petra’s need to provide transport and housing as employees reside close by. There are skills shortages in the local communities for expert positions, which necessitates regional or national vacancy advertisements for positions in specific skilled bands. All unskilled and semi-skilled positions are only advertised locally. Major contractors to the operations are expected to apply the same recruitment principle when employing workers for contracts at these operations.
We have implemented a new recruitment system to enhance data management and operational efficiencies. This automated recruitment system provides opportunities for statistical analysis of recruitment needs and trends, to transform recruitment from being a reactive business function to a proactive tool for attracting and retaining high-calibre skills and expertise.
Considerable work and progress has been made over the last 18 months to develop and implement an operating model for Petra, which enables Group functions to support operations in delivering operational excellence. With our operations largely stabilised we have centralised many functions at Group level such as HR, Sustainability and Finance (including Supply Chain). This allows for better integration across Petra’s South African operations and standardisation of key equipment to drive further efficiencies.
The Organisational Design process resulted in the need for new roles and expertise in Petra’s Group functions. This process will optimise the Group’s organisational capabilities by aligning strategy, structure, people and management processes. Employees in Group functions increased by 25% over the past Year. However, staff turnover remained constant with retrenchments being the main reason. The Koffiefontein Diamond Mine retrenchment process has resulted in 86 severance packages, which were concluded in June 2022.
Training and development is essential in ensuring that our employees can achieve their full potential and to guarantee that the current and future skills needs of the organisation are met. We therefore allocate significant resources to this area (US$6.1 million spend in FY 2022).
Employee training and development spans a wide scope of safety training and technical training and a variety of development programmes, both technical and managerial in nature. The Engineering Aide Development Programme continued to gain traction, transitioning from full-time to part-time training to provide an opportunity for more employees to participate. In FY 2022, 64 employees participated on the Engineering Aide Development Programme with 46 employees (FY 2021: 38) successfully completing it.
Internships are offered to graduates to prepare them for the professional responsibilities in roles such as engineering, geology, geotechnical work and other professional roles. In FY 2022, 28 interns (FY 2021: 33 interns) were enrolled in these programmes, 46% (FY 2021: 39%) of whom were female. Nine interns completed their programmes and were appointed in the workforce, 44% of whom were females appointed in core disciplines.
The Women in Leadership (“WiL”) Programme is a customised programme is intended to enable women in key leadership positions to master important personal skills and gain insight into leadership at both a micro- and macro-organisational level.
Due to South Africa’s unique history and the associated poor standard of education – exacerbated in rural communities around our operations – adult illiteracy remains an issue in the country. At Petra, we make it possible for all employees who want to improve their literacy and numeracy skills to do so through our AET programme. AET is provided free of cost or obligation to all learners and is implemented by using multimedia computer-based training or facilitated learning via facilities available at all our South African operations.
AET facilities were used by 59 enrolled learners in FY 2022 (FY 2021: 73), including three contractors (FY 2021: three). Ten employees completed their AET subjects. Petra also offers adult learners, who did not complete high school, an opportunity to enrol for the Amended Senior Certificate, a qualification equivalent to Grade 12. In FY 2022, 22 employees enrolled and 24 community members were assisted to re-write their Senior Certificate.
Portable skills training is intended to develop skills that employees can use for self-employment at the end of their careers or in the instance of mine closure.
The provision of such training is legislated in South Africa, as it is seen as an important way to assist the development of a skilled workforce within the country. Our operations therefore offer a range of programmes, such as carpentry, engineering, agricultural training, computer skills, plastering and supporting participants to learn to drive and achieve their driving licences.
Although Williamson in Tanzania provides continuous training in the workplace and distance learning programmes and short courses are well attended, it does not currently present any formal portable skills programmes.
Petra’s bursary scheme focuses on supporting promising students studying towards higher qualifications in the core disciplines of the mining industry as well as supporting skills (teaching and social work) which are required in the communities. These bursaries form part of the South African mines’ SLP commitments. The bursary covers the cost of the studies as well as accommodation and allowances and are only available to South African students.
The group of full-time bursary students supported during FY 2022 consists of 92% HDSAs (FY 2021: 100%) and 67% female participation (FY 2021: 75%). Students are supported in carrying out vacation work or practical modules at operations as required by their respective institutions. Many tertiary courses require a component of vocational training. Therefore, Petra provides opportunities for experiential training or vacation work opportunities. 11 students from local communities (FY 2021: 11) were supported during FY 2022.
In South Africa, a learnership is a registered and accredited learning programme which combines practical work experience with academic learning.
These learnerships enable qualified learners, both current employees and non-employees, to be appointed as artisans or miners within our operational structures.
Learners are recruited from both internal and external applicants. We have learners on several programmes ranging from various engineering disciplines through to rock breaking and metallurgy. Of the 88 learners in FY 2022, 36% were female (FY 2021: 37%). 29 trainees (FY 2021: 36) successfully completed their learnerships with the remaining participants still on the programme
Stable labour relations are essential to our productivity and the delivery of our strategy and it is essential to cultivate trust in our culture and leadership through fair remuneration and effective internal communications. Through our labour relations Petra aims to guide, build and monitor a sound, stable employee relations climate. We ensure proactive and transparent dialogue with our employees, trade unions and local community representatives to resolve concerns as and when they arise. We also manage and ensure an effective employee relations management process that is compliant with relevant labour legislation.
Petra completed a business re-engineering project (BRE) for Koffiefontein to improve efficiencies and align the operations with the business model. In March 2022, this project resulted in the issuance of a Section 189(3) notice as prescribed by Section 189A of the Labour Relations Act, when an employer is contemplating retrenchment. The consultation process was facilitated by the CCMA with management, employees and organised labour at the Koffiefontein Mine.
In August 2021, Petra Diamonds South Africa concluded wage negotiations with its recognised trade unions, for various salary levels. In FY 2022, these wage agreements were concluded for a three-year period (FY 2022 to FY 2024) with the National Union of Metalworkers and UASA, for respective bargaining units. Increases were agreed upon as well as other benefits (housing allowance, sick leave, maternity/paternity leave, and medical and retirement contributions). Our operation in Tanzania, Williamson Mine, concluded a one-year wage agreement of an 8% increase for all its employees, assisting with labour stability.
There has been a steady increase in union membership, as result of a recruitment drive by unions using the recent wage increases and better conditions of employment, agreed to with the unions as well as the Koffiefontein Mine restructuring process.
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It is important that we engage with our people effectively. To do this, we use written and electronic content, social media, awareness and educational campaigns, and face-to-face meetings at different levels of the Company. For cost and accessibility reasons, the digitisation of communication products such as newsletters is being pursued. Various feedback mechanisms are in place, with an emphasis on face-to-face engagement such as briefing sessions and CEO roadshows. Sensitive feedback or grievances are channelled through the mechanisms provided for by open-door communication with line managers, employee relations and ethics procedures.
At each operation, monthly management engagement with employees is used for regular, official communication to update employees on progress in their respective area of operation. General managers also update employees on Group developments and factors in the macro-environment that could impact operations. Although employment policies are not translated into other languages, they are explained in vernacular when required.
Furthermore, various awareness campaigns are rolled out at all operations, mainly focusing on health and safety topics. Weekly wellness topics align with these campaigns to educate, communicate and highlight Company benefits and support for these health topics.