Lonmin's South Africa workers strike for second day

JOHANNESBURG Wed May 15, 2013 1:59am EDT

1 of 4. The mining community looks on as they are addressed by their leaders during a strike at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in Rustenburg, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, May 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Workers at platinum producer Lonmin's (LONJ.J) (LMI.L) South African shafts continued a wildcat strike for a second day on Wednesday, raising concerns that the bitter turf war between rival unions could escalate into anarchy and violence.

Production at all Lonmin's 13 shafts was halted on Tuesday as protesters demanded the closure of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) offices at Lonmin, which said last week that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) now represented over 70 percent of its workforce.

"At all the shafts at Marikana, nobody reported for night shift and nobody reported for day shift this morning," said Gideon du Plessis, Deputy General Secretary of smaller union Solidarity.

Lonmin has increased security at the mines following reports of intimidation and have urged all employees to return to work.

The platinum belt towns of Rustenburg and Marikana, which saw violent strikes at Lonmin and other producers last year, are a flashpoint of labor strife, with tensions running high over looming job cuts and wage talks.

On Tuesday Lonmin's share price slid over 7 percent and the rand hit 3-week lows as investors worried about a repeat of 2012's turmoil, which hammered platinum and gold production and triggered credit downgrades for Africa's largest economy.

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard, writing by Sherilee Lakmidas; editing by David Dolan)

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