UPDATE 2-S.Africa's AMCU wants gold sector to double minimum pay
* Gold firms battling rising costs, falling profits
* Union talking to platinum firm Lonmin over job cuts (Adds detail, comment on Lonmin)
By Zandi Shabalala and Tendai Dube
JOHANNESBURG, May 13 (Reuters) - South Africa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) wants the basic pay for entry level workers in the gold mining sector to be more than doubled, setting the stage for tough pay talks in an industry battling dwindling profits.
Joseph Mathunjwa told reporters on Wednesday his union, which led a record five-month long strike in the platinum industry last year, would seek a monthly wage of 12,500 rand ($1,045) for workers who currently earn around 6,000 rand.
"The mineworkers are enslaved across the country. Whatever we put forward is to liberate the mining workers from this oppression," Mathunjwa said.
With dwindling profits and increasing costs, Africa's top bullion producers AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold and Harmony Gold warn that high pay increases and strikes would lead to the decline of the struggling industry.
Mine owners had no immediate comment on the AMCU demand.
AMCU had also called for a doubling of wages in the platinum sector last year, sparking the costly industry stoppage. In the end, it settled for raises of around 20 percent annually. Continuación...