JOHANNESBURG, Sept 21 (Reuters) - South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) signed a three-year wage deal with AngloGold Ashanti on Friday, inking the same agreement that other unions reached with the company earlier in the week.
The agreement will mean an effective pay hike of over 12 percent for entry-level underground workers in the first year, over double the inflation rate, an industry trend in recent years that has hit margins and made many shafts unprofitable.
Gold producers have argued that above-inflation wage hikes have added to the cost burden in the bullion industry, which has also been hit by depressed prices, labour unrest and declining grades at depths of up to 4 kms (2-1/2 miles).
Harmony Gold, Sibanye-Stillwater and smaller producer Village Main Reef have yet to sign wage agreements with unions. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Adrian Croft)