How to source skilled and compliant labour for the mining industry

By: Quintus Sliep, Managing Director at Worldwide Staffing

Quintus Sliep, Managing Director at Worldwide Staffing
Quintus Sliep, Managing Director at Worldwide Staffing

The mining sector is the backbone of South Africa’s economy, reporting a record production of over R1 trillion for 2022 and remains one of the biggest employment sectors.

However, recruiting an appropriately skilled and experienced labour force can be extremely laborious and time-consuming given the heavily regulated nature of the sector. Contractors involved in onboarding labour may struggle to balance the requirements of this onerous task. Partnering with a Temporary Employment Services (TES) provider can assist contractors by quickly and effectively sourcing skilled and compliant labour from a pool of available skills, along with additional tasks such as Human Resources (HR), Industrial Relations (IR), payroll, and more. 

The Challenge

When it comes to labour recruitment and onboarding, contractors face the challenge of having inadequate resources for the intensive recruitment task. However, this is a critical function that needs to be fulfilled and cannot be done incorrectly, as the consequences could be severe. 

Mining is a dangerous occupation and is thus highly regulated, which means that health and safety must be considered with the utmost care.

Therefore, the candidates being recruited must have the right knowledge and experience to work and operate the equipment safely on site. The problem remains that sourcing and vetting these candidates takes a long time and expertise that contractors may not have. 

The Solution

A reputable and experienced TES partner can help with the entire labour recruitment and management process. This will include working within the respective communities and adhering to community guidelines, which in itself is a skilled and intensive process, following strict recruitment measures and adhering to minimum selection criteria, including health and safety guidelines by the mining company. In addition, a TES provider will manage a pool of replacement candidates, fully screened, vetted, and ready for placement in the event of shortfalls or additional staff being needed. 

They also manage all employment contracts, dismissals/terminations, disciplinaries as well as all HR and IR processes. This includes HR and IR advice to mitigate any risks, manage the entire payroll process and run weekly, fortnightly, and / or monthly pay cycles as needed. A TES partner can also offer an on-site support structure dependent on the volume of supply, whereby a TES resource is based at the client’s premises to help.

The Benefits of a TES Partner

Ultimately, what all mines want is that work be done safely and quickly, which can be challenging due to the dangerous nature of the environment. It is critical to ensure that health and safety procedures are always adhered to, which means that all labour supplied must understand the environment and must have the required skills set to work efficiently while fully adhering to health and safety requirements.   

Errors, damages, and losses are often the result of hiring workers who lack the necessary expertise, talent, or knowledge to carry out the work successfully.  Mistakes cost time and money, as they not only result in project delays, but can also lead to penalties and an increase in administrative workload, so getting the right people for the job is crucial. 

However, getting the right people can be quite challenging.  Reviewing and screening hundreds, if not thousands of applications, all whilst adhering to labour laws, and bargaining council l as well as working with community forums and local ward councillors can make the process that much more complicated and if not handled correctly can place the company at risk.  

Mine worker
The mining sector is the backbone of South Africa’s economy, reporting a record production of over R1 trillion for 2022

An experienced TES provider understands how vital it is to undergo a thorough recruitment process and will ultimately ensure that every step taken is in full compliance with all labour laws and Bargaining Council rules and regulations.  They have the required experience to understand the importance of working with community leaders and ensuring that healthy working partnerships are formed and maintained. A TES that works towards establishing a mutually beneficial partnership with their clients will remain focused on both client and employee satisfaction and, to this end, recognises that supplying a skilled, safe, and compliant labour force is a key component to successful project completion. 

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