Smelting poured to box at gold room in the G- Resources Group Ltd. Martabe gold and silver mining site at stock pile area in Batang Toru, North Sumatra province, Indonesia, on Wednesday, Febuary 13, 2013. The project started in July 2008 and is expected to commence production in the last quarter of 2011. Photographer: Dadang Tri/Bloomberg

Johannesburg - South Africa’s biggest gold producers amended their wage offers in a final push to reach an agreement in talks that began in June.

The companies have offered to raise pay by inflation or 6 percent, whichever is greater, for each of the three years starting July 1, Gideon du Plessis, general secretary for Solidarity union, said on his Twitter account.

Entry-level employees, who currently earn about R5 800 rand ($457) a month, have been offered a separate payment of R1 000 rand.

Bullion has dropped 8.5 percent since wage talks started between four unions and miners including AngloGold Ashanti and Harmony Gold Mining on June 22.

Prices close to a five- year low are hurting companies already contending with higher output costs.

Producers previously proposed a five-year wage deal with annual increases of as much as 13 percent, plus a share of profits, improved job security and living conditions.

The National Union of Mineworkers, the biggest labor group, earlier this month lowered its demand for basic pay to 9,500 rand. While that was 9.5 percent less than what it previously requested, it’s still at least 60 percent more than current wages.

The NUM speaks for about 52 percent of employees at the producers.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the second-largest labor group, wants entry-level pay more than doubled.