THERE was outrage at Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC) at the weekend after workers discovered that struggling broadcaster had only paid them $100 each as their December salary.
The Information ministry had early this month assured the workers who have gone without pay for several months that it would take over the payment of salaries including an annual bonus ahead of the festive season.
But staff at the public broadcaster told NewZimbabwe.com on Monday that there was chaos the ZBC Pockets Hill Head offices on Saturday after angry workers rejected the meagre “payment”.
“We told them that we do not want the $100 as it will take us nowhere. We want the company to pay us our outstanding seven months salaries,” said one of the workers who refused to be named because he is not allowed to talk to the media.
“What pains us is that the remaining managers continue to enjoy massive perks. As we speak, they are in Bulawayo for the official opening of Joshua Nkomo Airport and they have gone there at company expense where they are getting a five star hotel treatment while we are suffering,” another reporter said.
“We had been promised that the government was going to include ZBC in the 2014 national budget, but that did not happen, and it is not true that the company is broke. It’s only that the management is not bothered about the welfare of the workers. They are selfish,” said another worker.
The workers had pinned their hopes on government which last month promised to inherit the company’s six months’ salary (arrears) workers as well as pay them a bonus.
Media Information and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira confirmed the development early this month saying: “The ministry has now decided to pay the workers since ZBC management has failed.
“I want to assure workers that the ministry is working hard to ensure that salaries are paid at least by the time we go for Christmas.
"There are efforts underway right now and the ministry is engaging with Treasury to ensure that there is some kind of assistance to pay salaries at ZBC.
“The entire Government is concerned with this matter and wants this issue resolved so that there is something to bring cheer to workers before Christmas.”
It was recently revealed that sacked chief executive Happison Muchechetere was taking home a package of up to $40,000 from a company whose monthly revenues top US$275,000 per month against a budget of US$2,3 million of which US$1,6 million should go to salaries.
Information minister Jonathan Moyo sacked the entire ZBC board and suspended Muchechetere on full benefits, accusing them of failing to come up with a turn-around strategy for the company.