By Professor Matodzi
Harare, 03 September, 2015 – Zimbabwe’s troubled national airline, Air Zimbabwe has begun chasing after its former employees demanding the return of some property which they were using and entitled to before they were sacked early this month.
Air Zimbabwe is one of the state-run companies which recently terminated contracts for some of its workers following a ruling by the Supreme Court authorising employers to arbitrarily terminate employment contracts. In July, the Supreme Court ruled that employers can terminate workers contracts on notice and without giving any reason. The ruling prompted most struggling companies including Air Zimbabwe to dismiss several employees with an estimated 20 000 people having lost their jobs in less than two months after the ruling was issued.
In a letter sent to several of the airline’s former employees, Air Zimbabwe indicated that they should return the property which includes vehicles as stated in the termination of contract of employment on notice served to them early this month.
“Please be advised that Air Zimbabwe shall with immediate effect cause payment of your salaries and allowances pending the return of the company vehicle,” reads part of a letter served on one of the airline’s former employees and seen by Radio VOP.
The demand by Air Zimbabwe has angered the former workers who claim that the national airline has not paid them their dues while some protested that they were served with dismissal letter backdated to early July before the Supreme Court had pronounced its decision on the termination of employment contracts on notice.
Apart from Air Zimbabwe, some parastatals among them the Central Mechanical and Equipment Department and the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration have also taken advantage of the Supreme Court ruling to off load workers where several private companies have dismissed thousands of workers.
Tensions have been rising in Zimbabwe as the troubled southern African country grapples with a political and economic crisis worsened by massive job losses blamed mainly on mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe’s administration.
But the 91 year-old Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980 denies mismanaging the economy and instead accuses western governments for inflicting economic harm on the southern African country through the imposition of travel sanctions on the former nationalist and his lieutenants