HARARE – National carrier, Air Zimbabwe, has been ordered by the Labour Court to reinstate about 300 workers it fired nearly two years ago.
Air Zimbabwe chief executive Ripton Muzenda told a parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development chaired by Chegutu West Zanu PF MP Dexter Nduna that they were going to appeal against the order.
“We cannot afford to take back the 299 workers, we simply can’t. However, we might consider taking some of the critical staff members that were retrenched but we needed. And I would like to admit that there were some that were retrenched that we needed,” he said.
Muzenda also revealed that the national flag carrier was working towards gaining International Air Transport Association (Iata) readmission by May 31, this year.
Iata suspended Air Zim from its account settlement system in 2012 due to non-payment of $4m in fees, dealing a major blow to the airline that has been battling to stay afloat for years.
The association’s system settles accounts between the world’s airlines, airline-associated companies and travel agencies.
The Air Zimbabwe boss said they were also planning on re-branding the airline by year end, as well as acquiring various airline certifications, to ensure the safety of passengers and cargo.
Nduna asked why the airline’s chief operations officer (COO) Simba Chikoore — who is also President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law — had not attended the committee meeting.
Muzenda said Chikore was busy attending to operational issues at the airline.
“We had a lot of things that needed to be attended to,” he said.
The parastatal is currently facing viability challenges characterised by a ballooning $300 million debt.