Our people are at the core of our success. We depend on skilled, hard-working, and empowered employees to contribute to our business and we strive to be an employer of choice. To support this, we create a culture of collaboration and inclusiveness at all levels of the organization, which is reflected in our hiring and advancement practices. In all jurisdictions where we operate, we comply with local employment laws. We adhere to the principles of the United Nations Global Compact and are committed to fair and equitable employment practices throughout our operations.
We are dedicated to providing opportunities to maximize local employment. Our Rainy River and New Afton mines are great examples, as the majority of employees are residents of the local area and active members of the community. For further information on our local hiring practices, see the Local Communities tab in this Corporate Responsibility Report.
One of New Gold’s core values is to develop our employees. This means employees receive regular feedback on their job performance and a tailored development plan that supports them in reaching their full potential.
We emphasize to our employees and contractors that they must demonstrate leadership and commitment to sustainable development through effective health, safety, environment, and social responsibility management.
Workplace Diversity and Inclusion
New Gold has an inclusive approach that respects diversity. We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination, as well as verbal, physical or sexual harassment.
The Cerro San Pedro Mine is an excellent example of our efforts to ensure we are an inclusive employer. The operation was recognized in 2009 as an “Inclusive Company” by the State Government of San Luis Potosí for its employment of seniors and people with disabilities, and has been endorsed as a “Socially Responsible Company” by the Mexican Center for Philanthropy every year since 2010. In 2013 and 2014, Cerro San Pedro was also recognized by the Mexican Ministry of Labour with the designation of “Family Responsible Company”.
The New Afton Mine has also been recognized for excellence in diversity. The inaugural BC Mining HR Diversity Award (2013) presented by the Mining Association of British Columbia and the BC Mining HR Task Force recognized New Afton and the BC Aboriginal Mine Training Association (BCAMTA) for an outstanding commitment to encouraging and supporting diversity within the workforce. The award recognized that the BC AMTA/New Gold initiative has had a significant, positive impact at the New Afton operation – for its employees and for nearby communities.
The global mining industry faces significant challenges in increasing the participation of women in its workforce. Historically women have had lower participation rates than men in mining-related education programs and occupations, as well as in executive positions in this sector. We recognize that recruiting and retaining women at mine sites is a challenge for us as well. New Gold takes steps to support gender diversity in the workplace and ensures that gender does not factor into salary and bonus determinations.
We have been increasingly successful in hiring and retaining women in leadership positions at our corporate office as well as mine sites. Across our company, women represent 14% of our direct employees. We recognize that this figure is below the Canadian average of 17% and are committed to working towards understanding and addressing the barriers we face to increase female participation in our workforce. As an indication of our commitment to increase gender diversity at the highest levels of our organization, we have three female members of our Board of Directors.
Collective Bargaining and Freedom of Association
Everywhere we operate, we strive to include all levels of employees in decision-making processes and have not experienced strikes or lockouts at our operations to date.
At all New Gold operations, workers have the right to freely associate and collectively bargain; however, Cerro San Pedro is our only mine that has unionized employees. On December 31, 2017, 74 of the 129 Cerro San Pedro employees – about 54%– were covered by a collective bargaining agreement. These figures have fluctuated over the last two years as we continue to implement the phased closure of the Cerro San Pedro Mine (from 58% in 2015 and 42% in 2016).