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No Christmas Joy For Ex Air Zim Workers

While millions of Christians around the world were feasting and celebrating the Christmas holiday, it was a different story for former Air Zimbabwe workers, who spent the day at the national carrier’s car park protesting over non payment of their salaries.

The more than 50 workers, who are part of the 300 workers dismissed following the infamous July 2015 Zuva Petroleum judgment, took part in a sit in at the Air Zim offices in Harare demanding among other things outstanding salaries amounting to over $300 million.

This comes after numerous attempts by the workers to force government and Air Zimbabwe to settle their outstanding salaries hit a snag.

Some of the former workers who spoke to 263Chat said they brought their kids along with them to appeal to the conscience of the airline and government.

“The situation is sad indeed. When you see us at this age, crossing the line of integrity, just know something is wrong somewhere. We endure and end up not absorbing the pain but crying nekuti kuona mbudzi youya kuzozvarira pavanhu inoda help.

“Today (Christmas day)they brought with them children  to the Airport offices car park so that maybe our plight will carry weigh,” said one former worker who on condition of anonymity.

“The situation is so dire that we can not even have a proper meal because ever since we were retrenched ,our families have been suffering. Today is Christmas day but we do not have anything to feed our expectant children with.


“Whilst the whole nation, including the minister (Dr Jorum Gumbo) and Chipo Dyanda, (board chairperson of Air Zim) are feasting with their families, we are here feeding on unhealthy snacks yet we are owed millions by this corrupt airline,” added another disgruntled worker who braved the rains and cold weather to air her plight.

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Air Zim applied for a court order for the workers to be removed from putting banners at the gate, a case which has since been referred to the High Court.

National Airways Workers Union president, Elijah Chiripasi told 263Chat that by not paying the workers, Air Zim’s board is breaching the Court rulings that even included deadlines.

“Air Zim decided to pick a group of about 200 that it gave the package in full payment on the 29th of November 2017 at the time of G40’s crumbling and just as Simba Chikore departed, they made sure the group had its money leaving the other 300 and no clear excuse is being made.

“Air Zim board is flip flopping on the discussions that they do with us  as workers representatives. They agree to this and when it comes to implementation they wake up with frivolous excuses,” said Chiripasi.

The Labor Court gave Air Zimbabwe, in September this year, a 60-day ultimatum to either reinstate or pay damages to 300 workers whose contracts were unlawfully terminated on three months’ notice in 2015.

A banner outside the Air Zimbabwe offices satirically wishing the airline’s body chairperson, Chipo Dyanda , a Merry Christmas.

The deadline has since lapsed with only 200 workers having been reinstated.

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Chiripasi said the airline seems to be enjoying the protection of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Joram Gumbo, whom they accuse of benefiting from the rot at the national airline.

“The board seems to be shielded by the Transport minister for the shady deals that have been happening as they were at the advanced stage in establishing an airline neMukwasha (Simba Chikore) at the expense of Air Zim.

“So the minister is working flat out to seal the leads through either lying to authorities especially in parliament or ignoring reporters,” said a source close to the proceedings.

Gumbo is accused of siding with Dyanda , as they are said to be part of a clique that is setting up a parallel airline, Zimbabwe Airways.

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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

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