Airzim offers free flights to managers being cut


Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) is offering free flights for two years to senior managers who will be made redundant by the job cuts embarked on by the parastatal.

The retrenchments at the national airline have been met with resistance from the workers, with AirZim employees rushing to the labor courts in a bid to overturn the job cuts.

To lessen the resistance against the exercise, AirZim chief executive officer Peter Chikumba, has dangled free flights to the affected managers to sweeten the exit packages.

“The company is offering you the following as your retrenchment package; enjoyment of your current travel benefits for two years effective August 1 2009, service pay equivalent to one and half month’s basic salary for every year served, notice pay for three months basic salary and purchase of your current motor vehicle at book value,” Chikumba wrote in a notice of intention to retrench dated August 12.

The notice also orders the affected workers to stop reporting for duty forthwith “unless specifically requested to do so,” until finalization of the retrenchment process.

Several managers are among the 409 workers out of AirZim’s 1,420 employees to be laid off by the airline as it moves to minimize the financial hemorrhage at the parastatal.

There is, however, strong resistance from the workers.

Last week, arbitrator Johnlife Mawire, ruled that AirZim must reopen negotiations with its employees because the current process had not been handled properly.

“That parties shall resume negotiations within seven working days of receipt of this award at which the proposals by both claimants and respondents (AirZim) on cost-cutting measures shall be fully interrogated,” reads part of the ruling.

“The negotiations shall be completed within seven working days (and) that in the event of disagreement, the parties shall refer the matter back to this tribunal for a final decision.”

Labor lawyer, Rodgers Matsikidze, who represented the workers in the dispute had argued before the arbitrator that AirZim had not consulted widely. AirZim had disputed this claim in its submissions.

“The claimants (workers) have sought to deny existence of the agreement on the simple ploy or assertion that minutes are unsigned.

“The existence or otherwise of an agreement between parties is not proven only by minutes or the refusal of one party later to sign them,” part of the AirZim argument reads.