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Key relationships – Unions

Given challenging global economic conditions and current socio-economic dynamics across the world, particularly inthe South African labour market, we prioritise our relationship with our employees and their representatives.

  Shared priorities   Our response
  Freedom of association and collective bargaining   Sappi endorses the principles of fair labour practice as entrenched in the United Nations Global Compact and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At a minimum, we conform to and often exceed the labour legislation requirements in countries in which we operate. We promote freedom of association and engage extensively with representative trade unions.
  Safety and wellness initiatives   Unions are involved in health and safety committees at each mill.
  Remuneration, working hours and other conditions of service  

SEU: Collective labour agreements

In 2019: The overall industrial relations climate in SEU remained good, without any major issues.

SNA: Collective bargaining with hourly paid employees and labour agreements with various unions In 2019: We settled labour agreements with all four unions at Somerset Mill, the trade unions at Westbrook Mill and two small unions representing railroad workers at the Cloquet railroad.

SSA: Employees (collective bargaining); forestry workers (sectoral determination/consultation)

In 2019: The region successfully concluded a separate collective bargaining framework agreement with the majority trade union, Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood Allied Workers Union (CEPPWAWU) for forestry operations. This will effectively replace the ministerial or government determination and allows for engagement on wages and conditions of employment for forestry workers annually, similar to pulp and paper as well as sawmilling segments of SSA operations.

  • Resolution of grievances
  • Engagement on strategy
  • Well-established grievance channels and disciplinary procedures
  • We engage with unions continually on economic conditions, market dynamics and growth plans.
  Opportunities for value creation
  • Good employee/management relations enable resolution of new and difficult labour issues as they develop
  • When employees understand strategic direction and operating context, they are more likely to be engaged, leading to a more stable labour force and higher levels of productivity.
  Challenges for value creation
  Multi-union landscapes, particularly in North America and Southern Africa are increasing the complexities of the labour landscape.