ZBC workers on 'hunger' strike

HARARE - Some workers at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) workers will for the next three days embark on a spiritual fast in a move aimed at unlocking their unpaid salaries.

The move is also viewed as a hunger strike.

Workers at the State broadcaster, which operates four radio and two television stations, have been sending messages to each other via their mobile phones urging all workers to start the fast as a protest over non-payment of salaries and cancellation of medical aid.

ZBC employees have gone from April without salaries at a time when their bosses are said to be earning about $20 000 a month each while driving top-of-the-range Mercedes Benz vehicles and Toyota V8 vehicles.
  


ZBC chief executive, Happyson Muchechetere.

The State broadcaster has been erratically struggling to pay its workers since last year and has been relying on overdrafts to finance its soaring wage bill driven mostly by the excessive and unsustainable perks for top management.

Workers at ZBC said the fast is starting today and will be in force for the next three days.

“We will be fasting for three days, for basically two things — our salaries and medical aid scheme,” said a worker who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing victimisation.

“While our salaries are not forthcoming, they have also cancelled our medical aid.

“Without these two basics, we are struggling to live. We have no food and cannot send our children to school. Without the medical aid, families have been struggling to meet medical costs.”

Sivukile Simango, ZBC public relations officer, told the Daily News yesterday that while reports of the fast was news to him, “I have however, heard that there have been messages being sent on workers’ mobile phones to that effect.”

Simango said it would be ill-advised for workers at ZBC to take such action.

“If they decide to seek divine intervention, then let them do so, but at their own peril,” Simango said.

“We, as management, have sat down with the workers and told them how things look and it is no secret that finances are not good. We have other media houses retrenching but did they ever come to ZBC and say, can you report this? Why should ZBC staff report to you?”

Simango said those making “noise” on outstanding salaries were not being truthful.

“We have been giving workers advance salaries and most of these workers are actually paid off in full through this arrangement,” Simango said.

“The workers know what to do, who to deal with if they have any financial problems and we have been attending to all workers’ needs.”

A worker at ZBC said the advances that Simango was talking about were not helping in any way. The employees claimed that they were sometimes given $60 to $100 in advances on different days of the month for their sustenance.

“Why should I be asking for an advance salary each and every month?” fumed another worker. “Why should I go in their offices day in day out trying to ask for money for my sick child? I just need a normal salary in my bank. Why negotiate for a monthly living allowance?”

ZBC staff are now pinning their hopes on Jonathan Moyo, the new Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister to address their plight.

They also hope that heads will soon roll at the State institution.

Critical skilled staff has been resigning over the years, crippling the smooth flow of broadcasts, while stability has been elusive due to an “irrational” restructuring exercise usually initiated by politicians and bureaucrats.

ZBC workers complained that what frustrated them most was that politicians and bureaucrats concentrated more on fighting for influence without addressing their welfare.

In March, the outgoing parliamentary portfolio committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology reported widespread disgruntlement among workers over ZBC’s failure to pay staff salaries on time.
The committee said this was compromising the quality of programming at the State broadcaster.

Settlement Chikwinya, chairman of the committee, told local media then that ZBC staff had not been paid for two months.

“The chief executive officer, Happyson Muchechetere, insisted they had been paid, but in separate interviews, the workers said the broadcaster owed them two months’ salaries,” he told journalists after the ZBC tour.

During the tour, Muchechetere said ZBC had imported broadcasting equipment from China worth $6,5 million, which included an outside broadcasting van and a digital satellite news-gathering van under a government-to-government agreement.

In a letter dated May 30, ZBC employees appealed to President Robert Mugabe to intervene to address their plight.

The employees said they were failing to buy food, pay rentals and school fees for their children because they were not being paid by the country’s sole broadcasting authority.

The letter, which was not signed for fear of victimisation, was copied to Webster Shamu, the then minister of Media, Information and Publicity and ZBC management.

The employees alleged management was arrogant whenever they asked for their salaries and better working conditions.

“What this means is (that) for three months, we have not paid our rentals, utility bills and accounts, school fees for our children, food for our families not to mention our extended families,” wrote the employees.

“The truth of the matter is you have a demoralised and impoverished (the) staff …at ZBC whose basic workers’ rights continue to be violated despite the fact that it is us who keep the machine running.”

Comments (27)

if anyone is in doubt of the workers' plight and allegations, have a look at the luxury vehicles management are driving, click the link below: www.fun4days.com/?share=34850

wacpop - 1 October 2013

leave zbc alone mind about your own onnnses problems

newdalnno snenses - 1 October 2013

yu surprisse me guys during the elecction makatadza kuluma apa mavakutsanya ki ki ki k

notley1093 - 1 October 2013

Ngavatsve vatsvukire. Idyai propaganda yenyu...inonaka wani. muchasurigwa nezanu mukati baba!

gorongoza - 1 October 2013

Look at the pic above of the fat british bulldog

British Bulldog - 1 October 2013

“The truth of the matter is you have a demoralised and impoverished (the) staff …at ZBC whose basic workers' rights continue to be violated despite the fact that it is us who keep the machine running.” There you have it, ZBC is a propaganda machine. kkkkkkkkkkk

Semhalo - 1 October 2013

And who's that fatty boom boom in the photo? Is that Happison? How he has grown and he looks happy too.

Semhalo - 1 October 2013

Kungofunga kuzadza matumbu enyu chete vamwe vachitorwa nemhepo. Forgo your $20 000 for just one month Mr Boss and pay 40 junior employees their one month salary. Doesn't that make sense?

Gudo - 1 October 2013

this is the problem in Zimbabwe,top executives are bleeding organisations,spending much on themselves.the cars and luxury they enjoy is not a reflection of an economy that is underperfoming.it does not apply to zbc alone,someone was talking about capitalising RBZ and Fidelity printers .While it is for a worth cause if checks and balances are not put in place there serious abuse of funds by executives at the expense of organisations they serve.Some of the executives will start making experiments with these organisations to show their academic prowess which do not produce results in the end.Marimbe for exampe.people are working overtime without pay when he is busy shopping cars.

takaendesa - 1 October 2013

Happison Muchecheter and Elliot Kasu must be fired. If Jonathan Moyo is serious about making ZBCa reputable national broadcaster, he must fire those two idiots. Vashandi vangaite mwedzi yakawanda kudaro vasina kubhadharwa?

G - 1 October 2013

Happison Muchecheter and Elliot Kasu must be fired. If Jonathan Moyo is serious about making ZBCa reputable national broadcaster, he must fire those two idiots. Vashandi vangaite mwedzi yakawanda kudaro vasina kubhadharwa?

G - 1 October 2013

Some zimboz are so dull, you still have hope in Jono and zanu, how stupid! idyai propaganda iyoyo. muchamama chete

Mhofu - 1 October 2013

What is ZBC ? Or by the way it is that broadcaster that belongs to ZANU PF .So to you LADIES & GENTLEMEN now you are getting the taste of your own medicine .When you were busy dishing out PROPAGANDA why didn't you ask for your SALARIES .We don't care even if you go on hunger-strike for the whole year,you deserve it .You helped the DEVIL to win so live with it .Now these people know that they is DAILY NEWS to use as a platform to convey their GRIEVANGES with their employer.THIS victimisation you are afraid of is going to happen to each & everyone who wrote that letter to the president ,DAILY NEWS & the minister.To show that you are not special to ZBC they bought equipment at the expense of your salaries.This is ZANU PF at work they use you like a CONDOM & dump you.

CASHTALK - 1 October 2013

For the next five years you will be crying like dying dogs. You haven't started. You will move from hunger-strike to total absenteeism. This is only the beginning. You busy reporting good about your own enemy how foolish. All this time we thought you are well fed saka maifirei kuita programming dziri pro-Zanu when it isn't taking care of you. I doubt many people are sympathizing with you here. I am only sorry for your children.

Exiled - 1 October 2013

ZBC, Harare Hospital and ZNFPC are the same. these parastatals must b revamped. being left for dead. The president should rescue otherwise the country is sitting on time bomb

Return - 2 October 2013

Ndaona H. Muchechetere achida kuputika nekusimba, anga aina Tarzan Mandizvidza, Varume varikuguta ivavo, zvandifungisa 2008 kuti munhu wese akanga aonda but G Gono aimera misoro 2 nekusimba, moti imi mune nzara vakuru venyu vakadaro, munopenga here imi,

garwe - 2 October 2013

Ndokusaka H Muchechetere waida kuura MDC-T paCoverage yeMarondera waida kuwana mari yekubhadhara vashandi, uribebenzi remunhu, how many ZPF gatherings did you cover and how much you got, Idiot, stupid, pay them today, vadzvanyiriri

garwe - 2 October 2013

whr a u ZBC guys say smthing so that wre get the true pict of wht is happening coz also dailynews is biased

student - 2 October 2013

whr a u ZBC guys say smthing so that wre get the true pict of wht is happening coz also dailynews is biased

student - 2 October 2013

bazavuka they telling lies is gud in front of God kkkkkkkkkkkkk

sibbs - 2 October 2013

IBHOLA EGEDHINI pamberi nezanu vakomana nevasikana next tme you be fooled by these thugs,why ddnt you raise these complains during elections period,keep compaining for zanu salary is coming.im sorry to tell you this bt i hv no option.

rio tinto - 2 October 2013

vanu varikutaura iavao kuti vanyimwa mari tirikukutsvakai. watabata warova pasi sezvatakaita kutsvaira mdc. varikucomplaner ndimi maelements emdc akasara saka tirikukutsvakai. shandai basi kunyange musina mari nekuti ndoinonzi patriotic iyoyo. muchechetere wawanza achitaura dzinga basa iyeye munhu.

zanu - 2 October 2013

This whole seen is a replica of how issues of governance have been address in Zimbabwe over the past so many years. This Simango dude is totally lost somewhere in Mars, because threats won't bring food the workers. When someone works, reciprocate, and show contrition, but not by these threats, by paying them. Advance salaries should only be offered in dire situations and to the actual amounts of the salary and should be avoided, anyway. ZBC hunts for money from citizens through licences, as headless chickens, yet they don't pay workers. What kind of a parastatal is this ZBC. You have been and shall always be an embarrassment to this country and you should cease to exist...

nemburungwe - 2 October 2013

This whole sCene is a replica of how issues of governance have been address in Zimbabwe over the past so many years. This Simango dude is totally lost somewhere in Mars, because threats won't bring food to the workers' tables. When someone works, reciprocate, and show contrition, but not by these threats, by paying them. Advance salaries should only be offered in dire situations and to the actual amounts of the salary and should be avoided, anyway. ZBC hunts for money from citizens through licences, as if they are headless chickens, yet they don't pay workers? What kind of a parastatal is this ZBC? You have been and shall always be an embarrassment to this country and you should cease to exist...

nemburungwe - 2 October 2013

Please black executives can you have people at heart, how would feel , you going for more than six months without pay. If its a concept of frezing wages, dont cancel medical aid. We are tired of this , 33 years we were fighting colonilisation now we are oppressing one another . May the almighty intervene and put a stop to this, as people of God have suffered more than enough. You the executives you forget one thing that for you to hold those positions its God and you are busy frustating and abuse his children what a shame. The people whom you meet on your way up are the same people whom you meet on your way down.

Vusi - 2 October 2013

that's what you get when you are a devil's advocate.

atz - 7 October 2013

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