South African gold producers offered wage hikes of up to 17 percent on Thursday, a slight increase to restive unions which have been seeking increases of up to double current levels from a fragile industry battling falling prices and rising costs.
The Chamber of Mines - which negotiates on behalf of gold producers - said in a statement that the offer on the table was final and for three years.
Sibanye Gold and AngloGold Ashanti offered an additional 1,000 rand ($80) a month to entry-level workers, an increase of 17.5 percent.
But that is purely cash and other company benefits related to the basic wage will not be topped up by the same amount.
Harmony Gold's monthly increase offer was 500 rand a month for the lowest-paid workers and a gain share of 5 percent from profits on a quarterly basis.
Artisans and other skilled and supervisory staff were offered hikes of between 4.6 and 6 percent in the first year.
The chamber said the final offer meant that the guaranteed pay of entry level employees, which includes allowances and medical and retirement contributions, would reach between 12,800 and 13,200 rand a month - the ultimate cost to the companies - in the third year of the agreement.
Underscoring the industry's woes, gold's spot price fell more than 1 percent on Thursday, trading close to a 5-1/2-year low hit last week, as the dollar jumped after the Federal Reserve left the door open for a rate rise in September.[GOL/]