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UPDATE 1-South Africa's NUM union demands wage hikes of up to 16 pct from Kumba Iron Ore
May 25, 2017 / 9:13 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's NUM union demands wage hikes of up to 16 pct from Kumba Iron Ore

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JOHANNESBURG, May 25 (Reuters) - South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has tabled wage hike demands of 12.5 to 16 percent with Anglo American's unit Kumba Iron Ore , well above inflation, according to a document obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

Anglo American has signalled its intention to sell off its stake in Kumba and the talks could be tough as prospective investors will not want to be saddled with an onerous wage bill amid uncertainty about iron and steel prices.

Kumba said earlier in May that it expects its interim earnings to rise by at least 20 percent largely because of higher export prices for iron ore which have been boosted by weakness in the rand currency.

The wage demands call for a 16 percent increase for the lowest-paid category of workers or a monthly increase of just over 1,300 rand ($100.82). The highest-paid NUM members at Kumba are seeking a 12.5 percent raise or almost 2,600 rand a month.

Wage demands in recent years have been driven by sharply higher food prices triggered by a 2015-16 drought and inflation more widely.

But annual inflation slowed to 5.3 percent in April from 6.1 percent in March as food price rises slowed, Statistics Africa data showed on Wednesday, beating market expectations of a 5.55 percent year-on-year print. ($1 = 12.8816 rand) (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia)

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