South African Gold Producers Increase Offer for Mining Wages

South African gold producers raised their offer for wages at mines by a half a percentage point to 5.5 percent, with additional compensation to resolve a deadlock in negotiations with workers.

“It is envisaged that each of the companies will develop a ‘gain share’ proposal in line with the company’s objectives and maturity,” the Chamber of Mines, which represents the producers, said in a statement. The measure may result in an additional 1 percent increase in basic wages, it said.

Talks about wages stalled on July 24 after the unions rejected an offer of 5 percent raises and a housing-related allowance. The dispute moved to mediation at the country’s Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. That process can last as long as 30 days.

In order for a settlement to be reached by Aug. 24, the expiration date for the facilitation process, all parties must make “major concessions,” Solidarity General Secretary Gideon du Plessis said in a statement.

“The employers will have to offer more than what is budgeted for, and unions will have to get a mandate to demand less than what our members’ current expectations are, to avoid a strike,” he said.

The chamber represents companies including AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s third-largest producer, Gold Fields Ltd., Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. and Sibanye Gold Ltd.

The National Union of Mineworkers have asked for a 60 percent increase in wages for entry-level jobs. The labor group represents 64 percent of employees in the gold sector.

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