Abigail Mawonde Harare Bureau—
Air Zimbabwe is still paying more than 300 employees it retrenched six months ago as it is unable to pay them retrenchment packages. Reliable sources told our Harare Bureau that the national airline fired 333 employees across all grades in a restructuring meant to turn around its fortunes. Air Zimbabwe is facing financial challenges due to a number of reasons that include ballooning debts due to mismanagement over the years.
It appears Air Zimbabwe is now facing difficulties in paying the retrenched workers their monthly salaries with workers last week besieging its Head Office at the Harare International Airport demanding payment.
The workers said traditionally they were paid on the same day with employees still reporting for duty but there were delays this time around.
Air Zimbabwe has also stopped meeting its medical aid obligations to the retrenched workers.
“The reason why we’re here is that we haven’t received our salaries for this month. We were given letters of termination of employment in August 2015.
“However, we haven’t yet been paid our packages hence we’re still getting salaries on a monthly basis. We normally get our salaries on the same day with those still employed since we’re on one payroll but this hasn’t happened hence we’ve come to demand an explanation from the management on the possible causes of this anomaly,” said Alexander Gutu, chairperson of Air Transport Union.
Air Zimbabwe’s acting public relations manager Shingai Dhliwayo confirmed they were still paying the retrenched workers.
She would not elaborate why the national airline was still paying the retrenchees.
“Air Zimbabwe pays its staff salaries as well as compensation packages for retrenchees between the 25th and the 30th of every month subject to availability of funds,” she said.
“As for the month in question (January) we’ve since paid all our staff and we’re not aware of any demonstration that took place at Air Zimbabwe.”