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South Africa Gold Miners, Unions Wage Talke Start July 11

South Africa’s gold producers and labor unions that want wage increase of more than double current levels will start annual wage negotiations on July 11, according to the body representing the companies.

A workshop on the state of the gold industry and the procedures for the talks will be held on July 8, the Johannesburg-based Chamber of Mines said in an e-mailed statement today. AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s third-biggest producer of the metal, Gold Fields Ltd., Harmony Gold Mining Ltd. and Sibanye Gold Ltd. are among companies that belong to the chamber.

One union has asked gold companies in South Africa, the world’s fifth-largest producer, to double basic pay for entry-level mineworkers as the price of the commodity fell below $1,200 an ounce for the first time since 2010 yesterday. Bullion is headed for its worst year since 1981.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which represents 17 percent of gold employees, is seeking a minimum entry-level salary of 12,500 rand ($1,250) for underground miners. That compares with the current minimum of 5,000 rand and is more than the increase to 8,000 rand sought by the National Union of Mineworkers for that category. About 85 percent of employees work below the surface.

The UASA and Solidarity unions, representing workers in higher-skilled categories, have proposed wage increases of 18 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

The NUM represents about 64 percent of gold miners in South Africa, according to the chamber.

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