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Number of Employees

 

Rössing and its employees

“A key challenge in 2006 was to formulate and implement a plan to ensure that the mine would have an adequate pool of employees to take the operation into the future.

The plan in place was to look after the skills development of current employees, but also to launch an extensive programme to recruit and retain new employees in various disciplines. A further challenge was to make all employees, old and new, realise that their hard work would greatly contribute to the future success of the company.

The mine’s logo, ‘Working for Namibia’, would now be expanded to include Namibians working for Rössing to ensure the mine’s future.”

Maryke Kröhne
Manager: Human Resources

 “Whenever there are people, there are differences. Labour relations are always characterised by disputes, differences. But what we would want to see is that mining companies must be eager to address those differences. And I think Rössing is moving in that direction: there are real changes at Rössing, although here and there you may encounter differences or huge grade gaps, but you can see that the people at Rössing are eager to address them.

Affirmative Action at Rössing is working. Here you should look at what Rössing did before and after Independence. Many people that work for Rössing are people who have been developed by Rössing; they have sent their people overseas or outside the country to further their qualifications, so that people can grow. Many people have been groomed by in-service-training. Rössing has been doing it for a very long time and that strategy is now showing results. They really do a lot. Rössing is very good in health and safety, because even ex-employees of Rössing who are employed in other companies mostly occupy senior positions and, usually, most of them are well trained in health and safety.”

Joseph Hangari
General Secretary:  Mineworkers’ Union of Namibia

With a renewed focus on the training and development of its human potential in 2006 and further capacity-building to be Namibia’s employer of choice for career-seekers, the mine continued to expand its Human Resources Department. The company also expands its improvement and training functions in maintaining safety and productivity among its workforce to support the future of the mine.

The workforce at a glance

At the end of 2006, the staff complement totalled 939 permanent employees, 96.6% of whom were Namibians. The male:female ratio was 8:1, compared with 9:1 in 2005.

Although the age profile continues to indicate an ageing work force, there is a slight improvement due to the younger age of new employees: the average age in 2006 was 43.1 years, compared with 43.6 in 2005.

The youngest employee who joined the mine in 2006 was 21 years old, and in the same year two employees reached the age of 65.

The ages of the 132 new recruits in 2006 were as follows:
•   61 were between 21 and 30
•   46 were between 31 and 40, and
•   25 were older than 40.

The workforce’s average length of service in 2006 was 14.8 years, compared with 18 in 2004 and 15.9 in 2005.

The percentage of female newcomers was 17%, while 83% were male, compared with 22% female and 78% male in 2005.

A total of 53 employees left the company’s employment for various reasons during 2006, with a significant number joining the new uranium mine close to Rössing.

In addition to the mine’s permanent employees, an average of 660 contractors were on site every day during 2006.

Employee relations

At the top of the company–union agenda during 2006 were salary negotiations and discussions on dispute resolution.

Rössing and the Rössing Branch of the Mineworkers’ Union of Namibia (MUN) reached the following agreements:

Salary negotiations

After successful negotiations between the company and the MUN’s Rössing Branch, the following salary agreement for 2007 was reached:

Basic salaries
•   Basic salaries of employees in the Bargaining
Unit (Grades 1 to 11) was increased by 8% from 1 January 2007.
•   Grades 2 to 7 received an equity adjustment of their respective basic salaries capped at the 35th percentile.

Salary scales
The minimum and maximum of the salary scales in the Bargaining Union (Grades 1 to 11) were adjusted by 8%.

Housing allowance
For Grades 8 to 11, the housing allowance will increase by N$259 per month in 2007.

Dispute Resolution

Dispute resolution discussions between the company and the MUN’s Rössing Branch focused on the following:

•  Recruitment, selection and promotion
•  Total packages, and
•  The Maintenance Improvement Team.

The company was also involved in four cases at the District Labour Court during the year. These related to alleged unfair dismissals.

Affirmative Action

For the seventh consecutive year, in 2006 Rössing Uranium was certified as having complied with the stipulations of the Affirmative Action (Employment) Act, 1998 (No. 29 of 1998). The mine’s Affirmative Action Plan focused on increasing the number of employees in designated groups, as follows:

    Objective

Target
(%)

Status in 2005
(%)

2006 status
(%)

Increase in designated group representation in Senior Management

33

23

28

Increase in female representation in Middle Management

17

10

10

Increase in Namibian understudies and citizens in Specialised/Skilled/Senior Supervisory categories

60

55

79

Increase in female representation in Skilled, Semi-skilled and Unskilled categories

7

4

20*

* The 20% consists of an increased number of female development positions and equipment operators.

The profile of the workforce is as follows:

Workforce profile

2004 (%)

2005 (%)

2006 (%)

Historically disadvantaged Namibian men        

79.0

77.9

78.0

Historically disadvantaged Namibian women

7.2

8.5

8.6

Previously advantaged women

1.1

1.2

1.1

Previously advantaged men

8.5

8.3

8.1

Non-Namibian men

3.5

3.5

3.5

Non-Namibian women

0.4

0.2

0.2

Persons with disabilities – men        

0.4

0.5

0.5

Persons with disabilities – women

0.0

0.0

0.0

“Principal among the challenges in 2006 was to re-establish a training and leadership development programme for our human resources to effectively handle the many new needs of a company coming from planned closure to a long-term growth scenario.

In 2007, the Training and Organisational Development Department will continue to focus on the improvement process, adding value through focused training, and empowering employees through skills enhancement. Other focus areas in 2007 in developing our human potential would be an improved leadership development programme, career progression as well as succession planning throughout the company.”

Chris Murangi
Manager:  Training and Organisational Development

 

 

“The biggest challenge we all face in Namibia is to train as many young people as possible. Over the years, Rössing has invested heavily in education, so why not invest even more in the youth? Give as many bursaries as possible. We have many poor but very gifted young people in the country. When it comes to training and development, I’m very, very impressed with Rössing. And I’m saying this in light of the fact that Rössing invests heavily in bursaries and they send their students to the best universities and technikons available.

They also have more than a hundred trainees at the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology. They make a very good selection in terms of where they send their students, because it costs them money. Companies like Rössing are ensuring that quality education and training are supported; they automatically help the NQA in having an argument to maintain and go for quality education and training.”

Eckhard Mueller
Chairman: Namibia Qualifications Authority

“The recruitment of skilled persons from outside Namibia is absolutely necessary and important for the creation of a pool of professionals to sustain organisations, companies and the industry. Namibia is lagging behind, especially in science and technology, which are recognised globally as drivers of economic growth and development. If we are to become a competitive nation, we have to recruit internationally, and concurrently take steps to train our people nationally and internationally. This is the reason why successful nations have strong academic, training and research institutions.”

Dr Tjama Tjivikua
Rector: Polytechnic of Namibia

“People must be trained and their computer skills developed. The importance of basic computer skills in everyday life cannot be overemphasised. More and more people are realising this and are making a concerted effort to get some form of computer training. Companies are also realising what an asset a computer-literate person can be to them and are taking it into their own hands to send their employees for training, which is very encouraging.”

Heila van Vuuren
Managing Director: Jobs Unlimited

“Generally – not just last year, but generally – Rössing has been a champion in skills development in the mining sector. I think that fact is undisputed because if you talk about skills training in this country, just look at the NIMT: Rössing put up that infrastructure and donated it to Government at Independence. Rössing has done exceptionally well in terms of skills development as well as providing infrastructure that will contribute towards that. Rössing continues to sponsor a large number of bursary students at NIMT and at tertiary institutions.”

Veston Malango
General Manager:
Chamber of Mines of Namibia

“It is absolutely necessary to recruit skilled people from outside of Namibia. The problem is some people say Namibians have some kind of xenophobia. In Namibia, we currently have a situation where we have a large unskilled workforce, not through their own fault, but because of the systems that we had before. When they see a foreigner in the country, they think that person is taking their job. But there is no country that has all the skilled people that they need. Skilled people are needed from across the continent and beyond, especially in critical areas like mining and agriculture. When I visited Rössing last year, I saw that they had done very well, especially in human resources.

They had a few ex-patriots – I think that time they had three – and they said that they wanted to Namibianise the whole operation. And many Namibians, whether they’re black or white, are now managers, so I think they’ve done that very well. Rössing also has good labour relations with their union. Of course it does not mean they don’t have differences, but I think they have always managed to reach agreement with their union. I think the mining industry, in comparison with other industries, is doing fairly well in terms of labour relations.”

Bro-Matthew Shinguadja
Labour Commissioner

Training and development

During 2006, Rössing’s newly established Improvement and Training Department, later renamed as Training and Organisational Development, further improved on its service function to increase the capacity and potential of employees in preparation of the demands that the extended life-of-mine will have on the business.

Training and development summary

2005

2006

2007
target

Trade bursary awards

58

90

90

Trade job attachments

10

3

6

Trade apprentice
employees

4

4

4

College/university bursaries

19

19

42

Employee technical
training

4

16

20

Current college/university students

1

6

2

Team leader development

28

70

74

Correspondence programme enrolments

36

36

36

Development positions

0

12

24

Scholarships for Rössing employees’ dependants

30

47

50

Total

190

287

348

During the year under review, the key programmes in the development of the mine’s human potential benefited about 290 people, up from 190 in 2005. The plan for 2007 is that 348 employees should participate. The programmes focused on the following:

Team leader development

Through its Front Line Leadership Programme, Rössing develops and prepares its future leaders for supervisory roles by covering a variety of topics relating to the mining industry. The programme is also presented as a refresher course for current supervisory incumbents. During 2006, 70 employees, making up five groups, enrolled for the programme. By year-end, one group had completed the programme, while the remaining four groups had completed about half the programme. As the groups are busy completing the Front Line Leadership Programme, there will be sufficient space to accommodate about the same number of employees for selection in 2007.

Technical schooling for employees

With the implementation of the Life-of-Mine Extension and increased production, the need for technically qualified employees has also increased. Along with focused recruitment activities, technical training of our workforce reached new highs, with 22 employees selected Educational assistance programmes to attend technical schools and colleges in 2006. In 2007, another 28 employees will be selected to attend technical training courses.

Equipment simulator training

A first for Rössing was the acquisition of a mining equipment training simulator in late 2005, and its becoming operational in 2006. The objective of training on the simulator is to enhance the skills of current operators and teach operating skills to new employees in the safe and efficient handling of the mine’s haul trucks and shovels. By year end, 192 employees had completed simulator training. The plan for 2007 is to include additional mining equipment simulator programmes.

Employee exchange programme

In a continued effort to promote a sense of job worth, skills variety and growth, the mine has a number of employee exchange programmes in place.
One such programme allows for employees from different workshops to exchange jobs for a three- to six-week period to better understand the value of their own and that of other work roles in the business. In the same vein, the exchange of employees between Rössing Uranium and other southern African business units in the Rio Tinto group is envisaged.

At an international level, two Rössing employees from the Water Management Section exchanged work with employees from two coal mines in the USA with the aim of broadening their work experience.

Development positions

Workers with mining experience are difficult to recruit in Namibia. To overcome this, for certain positions the mine recruits workers with no mining experience and puts them through a skills and capacity development programme for them to fill future vacancies. The programme had 12 such positions in 2006. The plan for 2007 is to accommodate 24 development positions.

Educational assistance programmes

To prepare for the mine’s increased skills requirements in view of its life-of-mine extension, various educational assistance programmes were utilised. These include bursary schemes, job attachments, technical training at educational institutions, study support and scholarships.

 

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