23 March 2011

Pilots of Air Zimbabwe are on strike

update (21 April 2011): Air Zimbabwe resumes normal flights today (21 April 2011) after the strike by pilots ended yesterday following a Government intervention.
It is not clear over what period they would be paid the money, but it was revealed that the Zimbabwean Government agreed to pay the pilots about 67% of what they were owed.

update (20 April 2011): Stakeholders in Zimbabwe's tourism sector have called on the government to quickly resolve the Air Zimbabwe pilots impasse to enable easy access and travel of both local and international tourists during the Easter holidays.

update (18 April 2011): Air Zimbabwe is considering leasing additional aircraft from other airlines to service its regional and international routes which are currently not being serviced due to the strike by its pilots. Already Air Zimbabwe is leasing Zambezi Airways to service the Harare-Johannesburg route and recently added the Harare-Victoria Falls route. 

update (16 April 2011): Air Zimbabwe may collapse if the majority of shareholders (the Zimbabwe government is actually the majority shareholder!) do not chip in and re-capitalize the loss- making national carrier. Air Zimbabwe's acting chief executive, Innocent Mavhunga, told Xinhua (the official press agency of the government of China) when asked if it was possible for the airline to collapse in the same way Zambian Airways collapsed a few years ago: "Yes if nothing comes that can happen.

update (15 April 2011): - via Zimbabwe Independent - Insiders revealed that the troubled national airline [Air Zim] was currently in talks with Zambezi Airways of Zambia to increase the frequency of its flights between Harare and Johannesburg, as well as servicing some domestic routes after failing to reach a deal with its striking pilots.
Two weeks ago, Air Zimbabwe leased an aircraft and flight crews from Zambezi Airways to service its Harare–Johannesburg route. The plane currently flies to Johannesburg three times a week. The insiders said if Zambezi Airways agreed to the proposal, daily flights to South Africa from Harare and domestic routes would resume. 

update (13 April 2011): Air Zimbabwe chairman Jonathan Kadzura has been quoted saying that his airline has come up with a stop-gap measure to hire planes from defunct, privately, owned Zambian Airways. It is not clear how many planes are targeted but the move includes Zambian Airways crew who were left in the cold after the airline abruptly stopped operating. It is also not clear yet if Zambian Airways will be allowed to lease the planes owing to the ongoing court cases.
Air Zimbabwe currently has only five operational aircraft – but the airline still employs 49 pilots and about 280 engineers to service one plane [link].
Air Zimbabwe currently has two operational Boeing 767s which service the Harare-London and Harare-Malaysia-China routes. Two Boeing 737s service regional and domestic routes and only one of three MA60s is currently active on the domestic routes.
Air Zimbabwe pilots recently insisted they will not return to work until management pays them their outstanding salaries. 

update (12 April 2011): Air Zimbabwe acting chief executive officer Innocent Mavhunga on Monday said the airline required at least $4 million to pay striking pilots. The salaries for pilots of the airline had been between $3 000 and $7 000, but as the performance of the airline declined, management saw it fit to reduce the salaries to between $1 000 and $1 500.

update (11 April 2011): Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace took an Air Zimbabwe plane to Singapore on Friday (08 April) and striking pilots had to be recalled to fly them. Air Zimbabwe board chairman Jonathan Kadzura justified the move yesterday saying the flight was not a commercial one but the pilots were on “national duty.” The Standard is quoting him saying: "There is a difference of going on strike for commercial flights and flying on national duty. You can’t say no to national duty because yesterday’s flight wasn’t a commercial one."
Zimbabwean newspaper "Newsday" is reporting that there are still no signs of when the strike would end.
Pilots and flight crews at the ailing Air Zimbabwe have decided to continue their strike over unpaid salaries, despite a Labour Court ruling on Wednesday that their industrial action is illegal. 

update (08 April 2011): Zimbabwe's Labor Court has ruled that the strike by Air Zimbabwe pilots and other staff is illegal and has ordering them to return to work within 48 hours. No comments from the Zimbabwe Flight Crew Association and Air Zimbabwe managementhave been reported so far.

update (06 April 2011): Troubled Air Zimbabwe has again cancelled all its domestic, regional and international routes as "the pilots strike" has entered week three. In the meantime, the Air Zimbabwe management has reached out to the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development to help pay up the nearly US$400 000 debt the airline owes in unpaid salaries and bonuses to its employees and to return all the attached assets.

update (05 April 2011): Air Zimbabwe's woes were compounded yesterday when workers were legally granted control of airline property, including management vehicles. Efforts to stop the attachment and subsequent auctioning of the assets failed at the Zimbabwean High Court yesterday.

update (04 March 2011): According to Voice of America, Robert Mugabe, who traveled on a special Air Zimbabwe flight to Zambia last week for a regional mini-summit, will order the carrier's management to pay part of the US$9 million in arrears on staff compensation. In the meantime, striking Air Zimbabwe pilots have threatened to attach the airline’s property over outstanding allowances and salaries amounting to US$9 million. 

update (31 March 2011): Air Zimbabwe's pilots are still on strike and the entire fleet is still grounded. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said yesterday that the government should fire Air Zimbabwe's management to resolve the strike...
btw - the management board of Air Zim is led by Jonathan Kadzura, a pig and poultry farmer, who hasn't got any background in the aviation industry. 

update (30 March 2011): Air Zimbabwe pilots are still on industrial action. All of Air Zimbabwe's planes are grounded and travellers who had booked flights with the national airline are being transferred to other airlines.

update (28 March 2011): The strike by Air Zimbabwe pilots entered its sixth day on Sunday with no end in sight. As a result, the airline has leased a private aircraft to fly the Harare-Johannesburg-Harare route as a stop-gap measure to ease pressure caused by the strike. The service is operating on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with normal timings until further notice.

update (24 March 2011): Regarding refunds of tickets for Air Zimbabwe flights - newzimbabwe.com is quoting Air Zimbabwe’s General Manager for Europe David Mwenga: "When tickets are bought directly from Air Zimbabwe, we pay back the customers by cheque, it’s a quick process. But when a ticket is bought from a travel agent, it’s a lengthier process and we pay back the travel agent not the traveller. It's an industry practice".

The pilots of Zimbabwe's flag carrier Air Zimbabwe went on strike again on 22 March 2011 because of payment problems. The pilots are demanding the payment of their allowances over due since last year despite of the higher authorities promised to clear the outstanding balances regarding their services. It is estimated that the airline owes the workers unpaid salaries and allowances totaling around 9 million US Dollars. Talks to end the strike are under way, but no further information was made public.
As a result of the strike Air Zimbabwe had to cancel most of the domestic, regional and international flights.

1 comment:

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