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Junior pilots remain defiant

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Junior pilots Friday said they were prepared to be fired than return to work without their money.

Senior pilots have succumbed to pressure and agreed to go back to work following threats of dismissal by the Air Zimbabwe board on Thursday.

Junior pilots who requested anonymity told NewsDay yesterday they would not be cowed into submission.

The airline stopped paying pilots their full salaries 19 months ago because of viability problems.

The junior pilots refused to say how much they were earning then but sources say they used to earn up to $12 000 per month.

Air Zimbabwe has been paying them only 20 % of their salaries promising to make up the difference once it rose out of its financial quagmire.

“We are not demanding a salary increase,” one of the pilots said.

“As I speak to you we have only received salaries for the month of July. We are prepared to be fired.”

Sources said conditions of service had gone down and, contrary to media reports, the pilots said instead of the $1 000 allowances they were entitled for school fees per child, they were getting just half of that.

The airline board issued a 24-hour ultimatum on Thursday night, ordering striking pilots to return to work or be fired.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has blamed Air Zimbabwe management and politicians for the industrial action by pilots.

The labour body said the entire board and CEO of the airline should resign with immediate effect.

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