Several communication channels are open to employees to make their views known to senior management and to the Board. The first point of contact is with an employee’s line manager and in most cases this is sufficient for addressing employee concerns.
The Group generally holds a ‘Direct Line’ event held every year in which the Chair answers questions from employees on a live video feed. The Deputy Chair and Senior Independent Director, Michael Lynch-Bell, is the Designated Non-Executive Director for the workforce, responsible for liaising with employees and this year conducted virtual employee meetings due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. Each of the Group’s operational divisions has a Head of Employee Relations whose role is to act as a liaison between employees and management. General Directors hold quarterly ‘town hall’ meetings.
Outside of operational or human resources related enquiries, all employees have access to a confidential telephone reporting line (Speak Up) which can be used to raise ethical concerns, including any concerns related to bribery or corruption. The Audit Committee receives a regular update on issues raised using the Speak Up service and conducts further investigation, where deemed necessary.
The Group uses a number of channels to communicate with its staff including websites, intranet sites, WhatsApp message groups, a corporate newspaper, TV news and a dedicated YouTube channel. Each of these communications channels has certain strengths which are suitable for use in different scenarios. During 2020, in the fast-changing circumstances brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and with many of the Group’s staff working remotely, accurate and effective communications were essential. The ability to keep employees informed of new procedures and restrictions in a timely manner helped the Group to navigate the challenges of the pandemic.
KAZ Minerals respects the right to freedom of association and we consult with our employees and trade unions about changes to our business and employment conditions. All employees are entitled to join a union of their choice. At the year end, 69% of the Group’s employees belonged to one of the three trade unions active in the mining industry in Kazakhstan, a similar level to the 70% in 2019.
Employee Communication – ‘Direct Line’ Events
Each year a Direct Line event is held giving employees the opportunity to put questions to senior management via a video link. The 2018 event was the fourth Direct Line, connecting all of the production, project and administration divisions of the Group and was streamed live to all internal participants.