Johannesburg - Mineworkers in the gold sector are mobilising for a possible strike next week, the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) said on Thursday.
"We are meeting the gold employers again next week and if there is no hope, we will notify them of our intention to strike," said spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka.
"I doubt we will reach an agreement," he said.
Chamber of Mines (COM) negotiator Elize Strydom said it had increased its offer to 5% for the lowest paid employees and 4.5% for the rest.
Seshoka has accused the chamber of dragging its feet on the salary negotiations.
The Num, the United Association of SA (Uasa) and Solidarity represent about 140 000 employees working for chamber member companies such as AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold and Goldfields.
The Num and Uasa hoped to raise the chamber's offer from 4.2% to 14%. Solidarity members wanted 12%.
Solidarity submitted a lower figure in the light of the production environment and 4.6% consumer price inflation. It felt its figure, although still above inflation, would help retain skilled employees.
The chamber recently said production in the gold mining industry had consistently declined and it faced pressure from high electricity, water and fuel costs.