South Africa gold producers offer single-digit hikes — document

South African gold producers have offered annual wage increases of around 5 to 6 percent over three years to most rank and file miners and up to 4.5 percent for more skilled workers, according to a document seen by Reuters.

Gold producers have been giving above-inflation wage hikes for years, adding to the cost burden of an industry that has been battling in the face of depressed prices, labour unrest and soaring power bills. Inflation is currently 4.6 percent.

Demands by the four unions involved range widely but are over 30 percent in some cases. One union source told Reuters that the gold producers' offers were "very low".

The four companies involved are Sibanye-Stillwater, Harmony Gold, AngloGold Ashanti and a smaller producer.

The four unions are the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), Solidarity and UASA.

The NUM wants the basic monthly pay for entry-level underground workers to rise to 10,500 rand ($785) over the next two years, which translates into annual increases of between 15 and 18.5 percent, depending on the company.

AMCU has put in demands of over 30 percent.

In a presentation to the unions on Wednesday, the companies said 75 percent of gold mines in South Africa, once the world's top gold producer, are currently loss-making or marginal.