ZBC workers demand better salaries; management accuses them of being opposition CCC activists
Disgruntled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) workers have exposed political interference in their work after complaining that union leaders who demand better working conditions are labelled opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters.
ZBC workers, who last year demanded to meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa over their poor working conditions, say the environment had become toxic.
The workers wrote to Information ministry permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana in October last year seeking President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s intervention over their welfare grievances.
Almost a year after the fiasco, the workers have written to the ministry complaining about the deteriorating conditions of service.
“Kindly note that the employees had requested the committee to reach out to His Excellency, but found it prudent to sincerely engage the ministry with the hope that the issues would be resolved amicably at ministerial level,” the workers committee said in correspondence shared on ZBC WhatsApp platforms.
“However, with the lack of tangible progress on the raised issues, we are afraid that the employees’ call for the committee to pursue the president’s route will be inevitable since the ministry has taken so long to resolve the burning issues.”
The workers said ZBC management had not shown commitment to implement the National Employment Council collective bargaining agreement since October last year.
“It’s also failing or unwilling to pay the Cimas medical aid subscriptions, with the employees and their families being turned away daily at a time when they are also broke,” the workers said.
According to the employees, committee members are now labelled CCC activists who are inciting other ZBC employees to demand better salaries.
“As we are fighting for a better living, take note of this; the-powers-that-be took advantage of the elections to sell a wrong narrative to the authorities that the worker’s committee members are CCC members who are inciting the ZBC employees to strike and sabotage both the company and government,” the committee said.
“All communication to the workers is now coming through the heads of departments or directors thus disregarding the workers’ committee and this is why the rest of the employees are not aware of the goings on implying a serious information gap because that’s a wrong channel.
“The executives are saying this to the minister: the employees are satisfied and grateful enough with the salaries they are receiving, it’s only the workers’ committee and a few individuals who are making unnecessary noise and pulling in the wrong direction.”
They added: “Let’s keep coming to work every day, obey your supervisors, let’s be one’s keeper, let us serve the government diligently knowing that even if all the other authorities try to paint a wrong picture of the ZBC employees, lies have short legs and the truth shall always set us free.”
Information deputy minister Kindness Paradza told The Standard that the matter was private between the employer and the workers.
“The issue of staff welfare in any organisation is a confidential matter and should be handled privately,” Paradza said.
“ZBC is run by a board of directors and the ministry provides policy guidance to the board.
“As a ministry we don’t deal with administrative issues.”
ZBC has been accused of bias towards Zanu PF in the coverage of political parties ahead of the August 23 elections.
CCC, which is the main opposition party in Zimbabwe, says it is denied coverage by the state-owned broadcaster.