Air Zim seeks to heal rift with pilots

HARARE - Air Zimbabwe management is considering re-engaging its pilots and cabin crew to avert further strikes as the national airline re-launches after a tumultuous era.

Ozias Bvute, the new Air Zimbabwe chairman told the parliamentary portfolio committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals that as a way of gaining confidence amongst its travelling public, the airline had to agree on all the contentious issues with the pilots.

The committee, chaired by Zanu PF legislator Larry Mavhima, wanted to gather oral evidence from Air Zimbabwe management on its current status.

MDC MP Edward Musumbu asked whether the airline was still working with the pilots, and how it had managed to resolve the industrial dispute.

“It is not a secret that the airline has been facing financial problems,” Bvute said. “We are going to engage our pilots so that we can work together smoothly. However, the strikes by pilots are not unique to Zimbabwe as the pilots are always striking globally.”

The airline employs 49 pilots among 1 300 workers.

Last year Air Zimbabwe pilots engaged in strike action and turned down the offer put on the table for them to go back to work.

The pilots and cabin crew claimed they were owed allowances and bonuses backdating to February 2009.

The strike by the pilots lasted for three months as the planes remained grounded, with no flights taking off.

The pilots had vowed to continue with the industrial action until an amount of $200 000 was deposited into their accounts in respect of their June and July salaries.

Bvute said the airline was aiming to resume its international routes to London in July this year and did not anticipate any industrial strike from pilots.

“We have people in the diaspora asking for Air Zimbabwe to fly them as we used to fly from Gatwick airport in UK straight into Harare airport, “said Bvute.

Air Zimbabwe operates a daily Harare-Johannesburg route. It used to run a two-weekly flight to London and a weekly-flight to China Beijing.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.