Air Zimbabwe workers have been on a work boycott aimed at pressing management to pay them their salaries which they last received seven months ago.
Informed sources told Radio VOP that Air Zimbabwe dangled $200 for each of the 25 engineers to entice them to carry out some maintenance work on the airline’s Boeing 767-200 plane which Mugabe charters for his local, regional and international jaunts.
Mugabe travelled to Addis Ababa for an African Union summit on Friday. Sources said out of 120 engineers, Air Zimbabwe selectively chose 25 engineers to carry out an “A check”, which is an aircraft maintenance check on Mugabe’s plane.
The “A check” is a periodic inspection that is done on an aircraft after 500-800 flight hours.
The 25 engineers were paid $200 each for the services which they provided. However, their monthly salaries together with other employees remain unpaid for seven months running.
Informed sources said the selective rewarding of engineers had torched a storm as some workers felt neglected.
“They are alleging unfair labour practices,” said the sources.
Air Zimbabwe is now resorting to charming its engineers with a pledge to instantly reward them for labour services provided so as to entice them to report for duty.
Early this month, Air Zimbabwe only resumed operating domestic flights it had suspended after alluring some of its engineers with instant compensation of $200 each for their labour services to fix one of its defective aircraft.
The national airline had cancelled domestic flights to Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city and to the resort town of Victoria Falls after one of the airline’s only operational aircraft developed an engine fault which could not be fixed because engineers were not reporting for duty.
Air Zimbabwe workers particularly pilots have resorted to staging wild cat strikes to compel management to pay them their salaries.
The work boycott has resulted in the grounding of the airline’s planes.
Besides workers’ mutiny, Air Zimbabwe is also battling to pay creditors, purchase fuel and service domestic, regional and international routes.