JOHANNESBURG — Workers at platinum producer Lonmin’s (LONJ.J) (LMI.L) South African shafts continued a wildcat strike for the second day yesterday, 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% 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 labour strife, with tensions running high over looming job cuts and wage talks.
On Tuesday Lonmin’s share price slid over 7% and the rand hit three-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.