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President Mugabe Set to Intervene in Air Zimbabwe Strike

  • Gibbs Dube

Mr. Mugabe, who traveled on a special Air Zimbabwe flight to Zambia this week for a regional mini-summit, will order the carrier's management to pay part of the US$9 million in arrears on staff compensation

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is expected to intervene in an on-going strike by Air Zimbabwe pilots and cabin crew that is now in its second week, sources said Friday.

Sources said Mr. Mugabe, who traveled on a special Air Zimbabwe flight to Zambia on Thursday, will order management to pay part of the US$9 million owed to staff.

Mr. Mugabe intervened in a similar strike last year when pilots, engineers and cabin crew downed tools demanding payment of outstanding salaries and allowances. They were paid part of the arrears before going back to work - but not all, leading to the current action.

Economist Tony Hawkins said President Mugabe’s intervention is a desperate move to rescue the carrier, which is losing millions of dollars a month.

“Even if he intervenes today, the airline will still face similar problems in the future and therefore the best way forward is to privatize Air Zimbabwe or let it collapse like Air Zambia,” Hawkins told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube.

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