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U.S. senator, labor push to restore jobless benefits for 1.7 million

By Thomas Ferraro WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Jack Reed, with the support of the largest labor group in the nation, said on Tuesday he hopes to get a vote as early as this week on a new bill to restore expired federal jobless benefits for 1.7 million Americans. The bill does not appear to have the 60 votes required to clear an anticipated procedural roadblock by Republicans in the 100-member Senate, according to Senate aides.

Union defiant as South Africa strike talks resume

Leaders of a militant South African mining union vowed to strike for a month if necessary, as wage talks continued Friday after the latest offer from firms was rejected. "The strike can last the whole month," said Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union treasurer Jimmy Gama. "They will stay as long as they are not satisfied." Talks between the union -- which has orchestrated a strike of around 80,000 miners, crippling the platinum sector -- and three major mine owners resumed on Friday, with a deal seemingly as far away as ever.

Union defiant as South Africa strike talks resume

Leaders of a militant South African mining union vowed to strike for a month if necessary, as wage talks resumed Friday after the latest offer from firms was rejected. "The strike can last the whole month," said Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union treasurer Jimmy Gama. "They will stay as long as they are not satisfied." Talks between the union -- which has orchestrated a strike of around 80,000 miners, crippling the platinum sector -- and three major mine owners resumed on Friday, with a deal seemingly as far away as ever.

South Africa platinum firms get fresh strike ultimatum

South Africa's embattled platinum sector faced the prospect of another tidal wave of strike action Friday as angry unionists issued an end of month deadline to meet wage demands. The sector's main union AMCU told AFP that months of fraught negotiations with top producers Anglo American Platinum, Impala and Lonmin, must conclude soon. "We can't negotiate forever," AMCU treasurer general Jimmy Gama said. "By this month, end of November, we should finish everything." "If things don't go the way (workers) want, obviously there will be a strike," he said.

Peabody says settlement offer for Patriot Coal retirees rejected

(Reuters) - Peabody Energy Corp <BTU.N>, which created now-bankrupt Patriot Coal <PCXCQ.PK> through a spin-off, said an offer to settle claims relating to healthcare benefits for Patriot Coal retirees had been rejected by the United Mine Workers of America. Peabody and Patriot have been fighting over the funding of benefits for about 3,100 retirees that Peabody agreed to continue covering after the October 2007 spin-off of Patriot.

Colombia sets tribunal to end Drummond strike

By Luis Jaime Acosta and Peter Murphy BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's Labor Ministry said on Friday it was calling an arbitration tribunal after 52 days of strike action by workers at the local operations of U.S.-based coal miner Drummond, a decision it said should end the dispute. The stoppage has halted about one third of production by the world's No. 4 coal exporter and has been the second major strike in Colombia's coal sector this year, cutting royalty revenues for the government and crimping economic growth.

Drummond Colombia vote may pressure union to lift strike

By Luis Jaime Acosta and Helen Murphy BOGOTA (Reuters) - A vote to end a more than six-week-long strike by union employees at U.S. coal miner Drummond's <DRMND.UL> Colombian operations does not halt the work stoppage, but it may increase pressure for the main union to make that happen, sources said on Friday.

S.Africa's gold mine strike nearing the end

South African striking gold miners were set to head back to the shafts Friday night to end a crippling strike after producers made a new wage offer. "Indications are the majority of mines will be back at work by this evening," the Chamber of Mines, which represents seven gold producers hit by a wage strike, announced. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which represents some 70,000 striking workers, earlier said many of its members had accepted the offer and were in the process of ending the strike.

S.Africa's gold mine strike nearing the end

Workers at more than half of the South African gold producers affected by a crippling strike have accepted a new wage offer and begun returning to work, union leaders said Friday. Workers at "four of the seven companies have accepted and the others are still being briefed today," Lesiba Seshoka, spokesman of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), told AFP, expressing hope that the remainder of the workers would accept the offer and call off the strike. "This may possibly mark the end of the strike," he said.

Bosnian miners stage protest 250 meters below ground

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Around 140 miners have barricaded themselves 250 meters below ground at a mine in northern Bosnia and threatened on Tuesday to go on hunger strike in a row over recruitment and pay. Workers at the Djurdjevik mine, near the town of Tuzla, are angry at the hiring of an administrative official, which they say violates an agreement with the government to hold off recruitment of non-production staff until the wages of miners can go up.
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