Platinum producer Lonmin told South African strikers to return to work by 0900 GMT (5 a.m. EDT) on Tuesday, adding their action could lead to job losses.

"We urge you to refrain from this unprotected (illegal) action and immediately return to work. Failure to do this could result in further reduction of jobs at Lonmin," the company said in an internal communiqu�� to staff, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; editing by David Dolan)