At least 200 workers of Zimbabwe’s struggling flagship airline have been retrenched in what the state-owned company says is a necessary measure to address overstaffing which has overstretched its dwindling resources.The number of workers sacked with immediate effect represents half of its total workforce.
In a statement issued on Wednesday to justify the move the airline’s chairwoman Chipo Dyanda claimed Air Zimbabwe has been seriously overstaffed, a situation which was affecting its capacity to cope with the financial implications.
“We are also trying to weed out people without the right qualifications” she said, adding that the retrenchment exercise is meant to give space to the airline to invest monies in other areas aimed at improving efficiency and viability.
Officials said in a bid to cut down on cost, the airline has since downsized its management team from 28 to 12 and reduced the 36 workers in its finance department to 17.
Air Zimbabwe which is frequently used by President Robert Mugabe for his trips abroad has been saddled with a $300 million debt.
There are fears that creditors could impound the airline’s planes should the debt remain unpaid.
Since Mugabe’s son-in-law took over the running of the airline, its woes have been further compounded by a European Union decision to ban its flights over safety fears.