Having written on this subject a few days ago, this letter is to shed more light over my complaint as to the happenings at Proflight Zambia.
Zambia is a peaceful and friendly country. We receive many expatriates from various countries all over the world and Zambia becomes a second home to most of these expats.
The issue is Proflight is in the habit of employing foreigners at the expense of suitably qualified Zambians. As a country, it is paramount that we employ suitably qualified Zambians first and if we cannot fill these positions with locals, then we may extend an invitation to foreigners. We need to protect our locals first. This is only fair and normal practice in any country.
As such, Proflight would have to prove that they were unable to find a suitably qualified local hence the need for a work permit for a foreigner. Can Proflight prove that we don’t have Zambians that can fill up most of these roles? For example, Proflight must explain why the Director of Flight Operations is a foreigner. We have many experienced ex Zambia Airways pilots who are more than qualified for this job.
If we take the example of Royal Air Charters, we can see that this is a company that puts Zambians first. Royal Air Charters has a number of very young but experienced local captains on their Embraer 30 seater planes. Can Proflight boast of a similar setup? The answer is a big NO! Royal Air Charters must be commended for their drive in empowering locals.
On the issue of the Director of Flight Operations. I have already mentioned that this post is currently held by Mark Barrett originally from the UK. I cannot over emphasise the fact that Mark Barrett has no respect or regard towards the locals. This is a well known fact at Proflight! Do we need this kind of behavior from a man we are accommodating in our country? That is no way for a visitor to behave. I would like Proflight to prove that we don’t have better mannered and qualified locals who can take up this position rather than having Mark Barrett. As a matter of fact, their is an indication that another foreigner is being brought in to take over from Mark Barrett. So basically this position will be reserved for foreigners? Totally unacceptable.
I mentioned in my last letter that I attended an assessment at Proflight recently. Contrary to what some ignorant people may think, I happen to be a qualified and experienced pilot. But it was quite clear that some foreigners were being favoured. I won’t dwell further on the assessment test and all for obvious reasons. In a way I am glad I didn’t make it into Proflight but worry for the employees without a voice.
In the engineering department, it is a similar setup. We have very qualified and capable local engineers who are not appreciated. Instead the foreigner is king.
The Zambian Civil Aviation Authority maintains a database of all the local qualified pilots. They can prove that indeed we have locals able to do these jobs professionally.
Over the festive period, Proflight held a party / function where many locals were suspiciously absent. Was this by mere coincidence or deliberate?
Tony Irwing the CEO is a very understanding and approachable man. My view is that he is surrounded by people who fail to advise him correctly. Tony treats his employees well and should not allow some of his workers to misbehave by tarnishing the image of his company.
The truth shall eventually emerge.