Restructuring Exercise: Air Zimbabwe Fires 200 Workers

Days after a plane developed a fault midair, financially squeezed airliner Air Zimbabwe has retrenched 200 workers with immediate effect as part of its ongoing restructuring exercise aimed at bringing back the national airline to viability.

Out of 28 managers, only 12 were left while others who were in acting capacities were returned to their rightful positions. The finance department which had 36 staffers was downsized to 17.

All the 30 pilots employed by the airline were not affected after it was discovered that they all had the required qualifications for their positions.

Air Zimbabwe board chairperson Professor Chipo Dyanda confirmed the development yesterday saying the current airline’s performance does not require a finance department of 36 people.
Air Zimbabwe Fires Workers

She said the remaining 17 employees in the finance department would be on performance based contracts for the next six months and those who failed to produce the desired results might be dismissed even before the six months lapsed.

As part of the restructuring exercise, Prof Dyanda said all employees would be on performance based contracts by the last quarter of this year.

She said a staff and skills audit done by an independent consultancy exposed a lot of unprofessional conduct ranging from under qualification, salary distortions and lack of proper skills among other things.

“We have hired a private consultant to do a staff audit in terms of checking qualifications to see if people are in the right positions. We have retrenched 200 employees out of 424 employees and those who were affected are going with their packages. The organisation is bloated and we are also trying to correct salary distortions at the organisation. 

“For example some employees were getting 45 percent retention allowances and 45 percent critical allowances and the net result was that the allowances will double one’s basic salary. Those who were made to act in certain positions were being given full packages instead of acting allowances. As a result of the salary distortions, we can no longer sustain the wage bill.”

Prof Dyanda continued: “Some of the anomalies that we have noted are that there seems to be reluctance by the finance department to produce audited financial results for the company. As we speak we still have outstanding audits dating back to 2011.”

Prof Dyanda said they were also coming up with a new business strategy for Air Zimbabwe. She said their aim was to transform Harare from being a mere destination for travellers but a gateway that people use to connect to other parts of the world.

“This restructuring exercise is coming on the backdrop of a strategic plan to give the company a different business model so that Harare is not viewed as a destination but a transit to other parts of the world,” she said.

“We are also going to embark on a retraining exercise that includes all staff members starting with the chief executive officer. We want them to understand what it means to work for a parastatal. We want to reinforce their managerial skills and we have so far received good responses from people who want to train our staff even from South Africa.”

Prof Dyanda said the money that was going to be saved after the restructuring exercise would be re-invested into the airline’s operations until it reaches the capacity to contribute to the fiscus. - The Herald

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