Gvt orders Zim Airways to reinstate two senior employees

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BERNARD MPOFU

Government has ordered Zimbabwe Airways to reinstate two senior employees who were sacked in June this year after a Labour officer ruled that the struggling airline had violated the country’s Labour Act.

According to Labour papers seen by Business Times, the claimants Simon Musakasa and Bertha Zakeyo were employed by the respondent as Human Resources Supervisor and Head Legal Services respectively when the airline terminated their contracts of employment on allegations of misconduct.

It is alleged that on June 6, 2018 allegations were levelled against the claimants and their contracts of employment were terminated.

The claimants argued that their termination was not in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Act as amended. It was also stated that the respondent raised allegation and adopted the disciplinary route but did not institute any disciplinary proceedings. The claimants stated that they were denied their rights to be heard.On the other hand, the respondent outlined that the claimants’ contracts were terminated on notice. It further stated that they will be paid three months in lieu notice and compensation for loss of employment.

However, the Labour officer Liliford Nhandara presiding over the case ruled that Zim Airways had violated the country’s Labour Act.“It is my view that when allegations were raised, no code of conduct was used therefore the claimants were unlawfully dismissed,” said the labour officer.

“The respondent is hereby ordered to reinstate the claimant to their previous posts without loss of salaries and benefits with effect from date of dismissal within 30 days from the return day.

If reinstatement is no longer tenable either party may approach the labour officer for quantification of damages.” Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Airways plans to secure an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) have been thrown into disarray after it emerged that the airline had violated the country’s aviation regulations by employing expatriates to key positions.

Barely four months after Zim Airways took delivery of its Boeing 777-200 acquired from Malaysia, airline is yet to be fully register as it continues to be funded from treasury coffers after former Transport Minister Jorum Gumbo said it was a government project. Initially the minister had said Zim Airways was a private entity being bankrolled by Zimbabweans living outside the country.

This comes at a time the airline has since June been struggling to pay salaries while at the same time electricity supplies have been disconnected at the company’s office.

An AOC grants approval by a national aviation authority to an aircraft operator to use its planes for commercial purposes. This requires the operator to have personnel, assets and systems in place to ensure the safety of its employees, passengers and the general public. According to Air Navigation Regulations set out by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), key personnel at the airline should be Zimbabweans