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Harmony expects wage hike demands of 13-16%

Source: Reuters

South Africa's Harmony Gold expects workers to demand wage hikes of 13-16 percent in next year's negotiations due to the country's soaring inflation, Chief Executive Graham Briggs said on Thursday.

"The guys will be looking back at the immediate sort of six months," he told the RBC gold conference in London.

"With an inflation rate of probably 13-16 percent, on that order... that's certainly probably where the negotiations will start."

South Africa's CPIX inflation was at 13 percent in September, near all-time records.

Joint wage talks for a new two-year wage pact between the biggest gold producers, including AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields, traditionally kick off in April ahead of the expiry of the pact at end June.

Briggs said he hoped that trade unions would consider the impact of high wage rises on the viability of the South African gold sector, where output is declining as firms have to cope with some of the deepest underground mines in the world.

"I'm certainly hopeful that everyone will be sensible and looking at job preservation," he said.

"Hopefully we'll be able to factor in some benefits that exist and relate that back to production and productivity."

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