Sources told Radio Vop that the sherriffs arrived at the airline’s airport heaquarters Wednesday morning to attach property to compensate workers for the loss of earnings.
Among some of the property that was to go under the hammer were top of the range vehicles belonging to top managment and company buses used to ferry workers to and from work.
Air Zimbabwe was recently ordered by the labour court to pay its workers money that they were owed after it failed in its bid to retrench close to 400 workers. Recently its pilots went on strike over pay grounding all its flights. The situation was only resolved after President Robert Mugabe intervened after he himself nearly became a victim of the industrial action. At the time he was supposed to travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Special arrangements had to be made to secure a crew which took him to the United States.
Contacted for a comment the Air Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer, Peter Chikumba confirmed the presence of the Sherriff at the airline’s Harare International Airport Headquarters.
“Yes we have some people who are here to try and cause some confusion but we are in a meeting to negotiate other means of settling this issue other than the one they are suggesting,” said Chikumba who was by then in a meeting over the issue.
Air Zimbabwe, which has over the years been run down by successive Zanu PF governments was in the past few years surviving on handouts from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) through the central bank governor, Gideon Gono’s quasi-fiscal activities.
A ministerial team has since been constituted to look into the operations of the airline.
Its chief executive has in the past advised that the national flag carrier needs a new aircraft to fight off its battered image caused by an aging fleet. Moreso moral is low at the airline due to viability problesmw which has seen workers sometimes going without pay. Chikumba has tried to forge alliances with other international aviation companies as a way of restoring viability but this has fell off because of the aguing fleet of aircraft.
A pair of new Air Bus A 34O aircrafts that the government was said to have acquired is yet to be delivered.
About 500 retrenched workers are demanding a whopping US$5 million from the national airliner which they are owed in outstanding salaries and allowances.
Air Zimbabwe currently operates two Boeing 767 planes, two Boeing 737 planes and one unpopular Chinese made MA60. One MA60 plane has been grounded since it hit warthogs at Harare International Airport recently while the other MA60.