|Airzim flights resume today|
|Friday, 24 September 2010 10:38|
AIR Zimbabwe resumes international flights today after 14 days of industrial action by pilots that cost the airline almost US$5 million.
This follows an agreement reached by the Government and the Flight Crew Association yesterday.
In a statement yesterday, the Secretary for Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development, Mr Partson Mbiriri, said all pilots agreed to return to work subject to operational conditions to be met by their employer.
He said the Government had intervened in the matter to restore normalcy at the airline after considering inconveniences that were being experienced by travellers.
Travellers were left stranded in London and Harare after pilots embarked on an indefinite industrial action demanding US$3 million they are owed by the airline in allowances and salaries.
"All pilots have agreed to return to work and, subject to operational requirements being met, normal flights are expected to resume on Friday (today).
"Suspension orders shall be withdrawn and no attendant disciplinary measures shall be taken against any of the pilots," he said.
Mr Mbiriri said all employees would be paid their deferred allowances as mutually agreed by the two parties.
He said a committee comprising the ministry, Airzim management and employee representatives would oversee the implementation of the agreement and review conditions of service for critical staff at the airline.
Sources at the airline said the Government had agreed to pay 40 percent of the total amount needed by the pilots while conditions would be reviewed in due course.
"Everything is now under control because Government has committed itself to pay 40 percent of the total amount needed by the pilots now. They also agreed that their conditions would be reviewed from time to time," said the source.
Air Zimbabwe flies two Boeing 767 planes on the Harare-China and Harare-London routes.
The airline also has three 737 Boeings for regional routes to South Africa and the Demo-cratic Republic of Congo.
However, domestic routes were not affected by the industrial action while one leased plane which came with its crew was servicing the SA route.
Airzim pilots and cabin crew went on strike two weeks ago demanding payment of outstanding allowances accrued since February last year.
The following day the airline appealed to the striking workers to resume duty while their grievances were being addressed, but the requ-est was turned down.
The pilots demanded a meeting with Trans-port, Communication and Infrastructure Deve-lopment Minister Nicholas Goche and Mr Mbiriri but the meeting yielded no results.
This forced the airline to give the striking workers a 24-hour ultimatum to report for duty or face dismissal.
The workers, however, ignored the threats and continued with the industrial action.
The company later summoned the pilots for a hearing and also ordered them to surrender all company assets in their possession.
The disciplinary hearings also failed to take off, forcing management to plead with the striking pilots and cabin crew to report for duty as negotiations to address their grievances continued.
Negotiations between the ministry and representatives of the workers culminated in yesterday’s agreement.