Air Zimbabwe pilots have been given a 24-hour ultimatum by the board to return to work as the strike continued Thursday, with the airline board holding a second emergency meeting since the job action began on Wednesday.
The pilots went on strike on Wednesday morning demanding payment of their allowances believed to be running into millions of dollars.
Two planes were abandoned on the runway and hundreds of travellers were left stranded.
The industrial action has paralysed operations on the airline’s major routes, including Harare-Johannesburg, Harare-London, and Harare-Victoria Falls (via Bulawayo).
Air Zimbabwe CEO Peter Chikumba would not comment on the latest developments yesterday, saying:
“I am in a meeting. Can you call later when I am through with the board meeting?”
The airline boss told international media that management were continuing negotiations with the 40 striking pilots to resolve the dispute.
Air Zimbabwe board chairman Jonathan Kadzura said on Wednesday the airline could not afford the salaries that the pilots were demanding.
“Air Zimbabwe, as an employer, cannot afford to pay the salaries being demanded by the pilots,” Kadzura said. “They (pilots) are getting not less than $1 200 a month.
“The amounts they are receiving in this economy are outrageous. They are failing to understand that there are people who are earning less than $200, like civil servants in this country,” he said.