Johannesburg - South Africa's Solidarity trade union, which represents highly skilled workers, said on Monday its members had accepted pay increases of 7.5 to 8 percent from the country's gold mining companies.
Solidarity's members were not on strike but were poised to down tools.
The union only represents 2.5 percent of the workers in the country's gold mines but punches above its weight because its members are essential for mine operations.
“The trade union's members accepted the offer given the current conditions in the gold industry and in the hope that the agreement will promote the sustainability of the industry,” Solidarity said in a statement.
A strike last week against gold producers over wages by the far larger National Union of Mineworkers lasted only three days.
Most of its members accepted similar pay hikes, far below the 15 to 60 percent increases the union had been seeking.
But the more hardline Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has said it will strike if its demand for a “living-wage” for entry-level workers of 12,500 rand ($1,200) a month - a more than doubling of what such miners currently earn - is not met.
AMCU represents only about 17 percent of the country's gold miners but has majority status at key operations such as AngloGold Ashanti's Mponeng, the world's deepest mine.
Gold companies, which include Gold Fields, Harmony Gold and Sibanye Gold, say they cannot afford big pay increases in the face of soaring costs and depressed prices. - Reuters