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AirZim employees seek Mugabe intervention

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Frustrated Air Zimbabwe employees could approach President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to air their grievances and ensure they are paid outstanding salaries.

Some 100 AirZim workers yesterday held a meeting at Harare International Airport to chart the way forward.

Sources told NewsDay Transport minister Nicholas Goche had failed to ensure the national carrier paid employees their outstanding salaries for almost a year now.

As a result employees said they were struggling to meet their day-to-day basic needs.

In the meeting, some workers also accused the government for lacking the political will to tackle the AirZim issue.

Employees expressed great concern at how the national airline was being run without involving them on key decisions.

How can the minister announce the unbundling of the airline without consulting employees? one of the employees queried.

Lets go to the President (Mugabe) directly without anyone representing us.(Mhondoro-Ngezi MP Bright) Matonga tried to represent us, but nothing came out of it. We will not acknowledge the new board. As far as we are concerned Transport ministry secretary Patson Mbiriri is not our chairman. We will keep addressing him as the permanent secretary, another the employee said.

Mbiriri chairs the interim AirZim (Pvt) Ltd board. Other board members include Andrew Bvumbe, Sylvester Maunganidze, Florence Nhekairo, Eliah Mutowo, Simbarashe Mangwengwende and Stanslaus Mangoma.

The recently constituted Air Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd secured an Airbus A320 for leasing to service its regional destinations.

But the employees claimed the leased airbus had been lying idle for the past six months hence there was no logic in leasing a plane the country was not using yet employees were not being paid.

AirZim planes have been grounded for over two months. The government announced plans to take over the airlines $140 million debt.

Recently the government unbandled Air Zimbabwe Holdings to establish Air Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd and National Handling Services.

Acting AirZim chief executive officer Innocent Mavhunga could not immediately comment as he was said to be in a meeting.

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