Canada’s National Contact Point Follow up Statement Endeavour on Mining Corporation and the Labour Union FENAME
May 16, 2019
- Canada’s National Contact Point (the “NCP”) is charged with promoting the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (hereafter “the OECD Guidelines”) and offering a dialogue facilitation mechanism to help parties resolve issues around the implementation of the Guidelines.
- The NCP followed the procedures prescribed in the Procedural Guidance to the OECD Guidelines (section C, page 72 of the 2011 edition) and the NCP Procedures Guide (http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/ncp-pcn/procedures_guide_de_procedure.aspx?lang=eng).
- Where a final statement includes a set of recommendations, the NCP approaches parties within the timeframe set out in the Final Statement, and after its publication to request an update. A follow up statement is then produced based upon the responses provided by the parties. The parties have an opportunity to comment on the statement in draft before its publication. Conclusions made by the NCP in the follow up statement are based only on what is apparent from the parties’ responses. The Follow up Statement does not represent any further examination of or findings on the issues by the NCP.
Follow up Statement
- This is a Follow up Statement to a specific instance concluded by the NCP on October 24, 2017. The Request for Review was regarding the activities of Endeavour Mining (hereinafter referred to as “Endeavour” or “the Company”) in Mali, and was submitted by “Le collectif des anciens travailleurs de SAER-Endeavour/Kenieba-region de Kayes”, represented by the Secretary General of the labour union Fédération Nationale des Mines et de l’Énergie (FENAME) (hereinafter referred to as “the Notifier”) on behalf of former and current employees of the Company concerning Tabakoto mine.
- The NCP assessed the case to be of merit and facilitated dialogue between the parties between September 2016 and March 2017. While the dialogue did not result in a mutually agreeable solution between parties per se, the process generated concrete positive outcomes in the form of a list of actions and commitments by Endeavour, on both the labour and health issues raised in the request for review.
- In its Final Statement, the NCP made recommendations to Endeavour and requested a written update on their efforts. The NCP also committed to issuing a Follow up statement with information on progress on the implementation of the NCP’s recommendations. The NCP received updates from both the Company and the Notifier and the details are explained below.
Summary of Request for Review
- The request for review was submitted to the Canadian NCP on October 24, 2017 by “Le collectif des anciens travailleurs de SAER-Endeavour/Kenieba-region de Kayes”, represented by the Secretary General of the Fédération Nationale des Mines et de l’Énergie (FENAME) on behalf of former employees of, a Canadian Company at the time of submission. The Request for Review was in regards to labour and health and safety practices of Endeavour in Mali concerning its Tabakoto mine.
- The NCP offered a facilitated dialogue which took place between September 2016 and March 2017. The Company committed to undertaking a series of actions aimed at resolving some of the issues raised. On October 24, 2017, the Canadian NCP published its Final Statement and made three recommendations to the Company with the intent to follow up on the Company’s progress on implementing these recommendations approximately 12 months following conclusion of the specific instance. The NCP’s Final Statement can be found here.
NCP Recommendations and Request
- The NCP requested that Endeavour report in writing to the Canadian NCP by 1 July, 2018on:
- 1) Its efforts to implement the three NCP recommendations; and,
- 2) How it has addressed and followed up on all the specific commitments made during the NCP dialogue, as listed in this Final Statement.
- The Company missed the deadline and upon being contacted by the NCP by email, provided a response on September 19, 2018 shortly after announcing the sale of the Tabakoto mine (see below). The NCP also contacted the Notifier by email and similarly requested an update by July 1, 2018. The Notifier provided a brief update on September 3, 2018. In the spirit of transparency, the NCP shared each party’s response with the other.
Response from the Parties
- With respect to the labour issues, the Notifier stated that this had not been resolved, either during the facilitated dialogue or since, as the 72 former workers had still not been rehired by SEMICO, Endeavour’s Malian subsidiary. The Notifier further indicated that, since the conclusion of the NCP specific instance, there had been no communication between the Company and the aggrieved former employees or their representatives, and that they obtained information on the Company’s activities through third parties.
- With respect to the health issues, the Notifier stated that they had observed improvements in regular lead testing up until April 2018. They noted that the Company refused to treat former workers contaminated by lead. The Notifier indicated that they neither received information from nor communicated with the Company regarding its follow-up activities, and that while they were aware of the change in contractor to manage the mine laboratory, they had no information on SGS, the new contractor.
Endeavour Mining Corporation
- Recommendation 1: The NCP recommends that Endeavour review or put in place a process by which the Company can meet the requirement of due diligence in relation to its sub-contractors, in accordance with Chapter II, paragraph 12 of the OECD Guidelines, in particular as it pertains to labour and occupational health and safety related issues.
- The Company stated that it has implemented a process of risk-based due diligence when choosing subcontractors and entering into new contractual relationships at the Tabakoto Mine. Each potential subcontractor is reviewed and examined in terms of their reputation, experience and internal policies and track record on ethics, labour relations and health and safety, amongst other topics.
- Specifically, the Company indicated that it has: contracted the international lab Company SGS which has built a new lab, which according to the Company, is better suited to meet industry standards on efficiency and safety; ensured that SGS offers regular training and education to management and workers on lead hazards and associated risks; ensured that blood lead level tests are conducted as per industry regulations; ensured, through unannounced inspection, that appropriate health and safety training and personal protective equipment is provided to and used by employees and contractors’ employees. The Company indicated that it requires testing on three chemical substances – lead, arsenic and creatinine. The last testing of workers was conducted by the former lab contractor, ALS, in January 2018 and the first testing to be conducted by SGS was scheduled for October 2018.
- Recommendation 2: The NCP recommends that Endeavour communicate publicly about efforts related to the recommendation above and about the measures carried out by any contractor operating the Tabakoto mine laboratory to prevent occupational health and safety risks, in particular those related to hazardous materials including lead.
- The Company stated that the following relevant policies are included on its website in French and in English: Safety and Health Policy, Whistle-blower Policy, Environmental Policy, and Business Conduct and Ethics Policy. The Company adopted a human rights policy in January 2018. These policies are posted at the mine site along with all health and safety rules and directives. The new laboratory contractor, SGS, also publishes its policies and protocols in an onsite manual.
- The Company indicated that it has created a safety, health and environment committee which is comprised of three non-executive directors that meet at least quarterly to monitor and improve safety practices (amongst others). The Committee conducts annual site visits to the company’s mine sites and reports to the Board on safety practices and any breaches.
- Recommendation 3: The NCP recommends that in the future, Endeavour communicate in a more transparent and timely way to employees and employees’ representatives about matters of employment which could induce significant change and impacts on the employees.
- The Company reported that in September of 2017, SEMICO had to implement a work force restructuring. The Company indicated that it announced the sale of the Tabakoto mine on September 4, 2018 to Algom Resources Limited. According to the Company, industry laws and regulations did not permit it to disclose publicly its intention to sell the mine until the agreement had been concluded. Upon the completion of the transaction and the issuance of a press release, the mine’s management met with employee representatives and contractors to explain the press release and provide information relating to the continuation of operations with Algom Resources Ltd.
Update on specific commitments
- During the facilitated dialogue, Endeavour committed to taking positive steps outside of the NCP’s recommendations. These are outlined below.
- With respect to Endeavour’s commitment to not discriminate or take retaliatory actions against individuals represented by the Notifier, the Company made references to its Whistle-blower and Business Conduct and Ethics Policies. The Company stated that three of the twelve persons who complained about high blood lead levels had not worked in the ALS lab since April 2014. The other nine persons were all employed by ALS and were either deployed to other ALS operating sites or hired by the new lab operator SGS.
- With respect to Endeavour’s commitment to consider applications from the 72 individuals identified in the dialogue and keep them on file for a 12 month consideration period, should they indicate interest in employment opportunities with the Company, and should positions that required comparable qualifications become available, Endeavour Mining reported that none of the former workers has yet applied for a job.
- The purpose of the NCP recommendations was to encourage the Company to meet the OECD Guidelines on due diligence and improve communication and transparency with its workforce, including sub-contractors, especially for sharing information that significantly impacts employees. The NCP welcomes the efforts made by Endeavour to implement its recommendations.
- The NCP’s assessment is that it is satisfied that Endeavour has demonstrated progressive steps with respect to Recommendations 1 and 2. With respect to Recommendation 3 on communications with employees, the NCP takes the opportunity to reiterate to the Company that striving to ensure transparent and timely communication with employees and employees’ representatives about matters of mutual concern is key to implementing Responsible Business Conduct due diligence in the future. The NCP recognises fully the importance of preserving confidentiality under circumstances such as the completion of sale of a mine or other major asset. The NCP also recognises that the Company’s management met with employee representatives and contractors to provide information on the transfer of ownership and continuation of operations to Algom Resources Ltd. The NCP notes the Notifiers’ position is that further progress could have been made.
- The NCP encourages Endeavour to continue to implement the OECD Guidelines and to improve timely communication and transparency with its employees and sub-contractors in its operations.
- The NCP thanks both parties for their cooperation throughout the NCP process, including the follow up phase. With this statement, the NCP considers the follow up process concluded.
- Date Modified: