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ZBC boss in trouble amid salaries war

The workers singled out Chikunguru, human resource director Julius Toringepi, and corporate secretary Patricia Muchengwa for undermining decisions meant to improve their welfare.

Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief executive officer Adelaide Chikunguru is in trouble after workers at the national broadcaster accused her of taking decisions that make their conditions of service unbearable.

The workers singled out Chikunguru, human resource director Julius Toringepi, and corporate secretary Patricia Muchengwa for undermining decisions meant to improve their welfare.

They said the conduct of the three has plunged the company operations into chaos, with sources at the national broadcaster accusing the trio of deliberately delaying the processes to have workers’ salaries increased as a way of sabotaging the new board led by Helliate Rushwaya.

Chikunguru is said to be loyal to the past board led by Josaya Tayi, which was appointed by former Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa.

 It was the sacking of that board that triggered a serious fallout between Monica Mutsvangwa’s husband, Christopher Mutsvangwa and the current Information minister, Jenfan Muswere.

Chikunguru is believed to be backing the Mutsvangwa faction and has publicly clashed with Muswere.

Mutsvangwa is believed to have been leading a faction opposed to Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga in the Zanu PF succession fights and wanted to continue holding a grip on the national broadcaster through Chikunguru and the old board.

In a letter of complaint addressed to Rushwaya and copied to other board of directors, the ZBC workers committee accused the trio of "holding the public broadcaster at ransom".

“February 9, 2024, the board HR committee sat to review the works council CBA [collective bargaining agreement], and it is unfortunate that the Friday minutes will never arrive on time because the trio is ahead of the board in terms of dilly-dallying with time and excuses," part of the letter reads.

The workers, who preferred anonymity said Chikunguriu, Togarepi and Muchengwa failed to send the recommendations of the HR committee to the board so that the workers declare incapacitation as a way of sabotaging the new board.

They said, in the past, such procedures used to take a week not the three to four weeks this has lasted.

Chikunguru and her team are said to have finally forwarded the recommendations to the board and then the Information ministry this week after the workers wrote their complaint to Rushwaya.

“It is worth mentioning that there is corridor talk circulating that the trio is bragging and has been vowing that they want to show the employees that they are the ones who make decisions on whether they want to give an increment, and therefore the board is useless in their eyes,” the workers wrote.

“Furthermore, whilst we used to have delays of increment approval from elsewhere, it has never happened before for the executive to sit on a CBA for more than five working days at Pockets Hill.

“Their response to the employee incapacitation letter, after we wrote to the board chair, is further testament that they do not have any urgency or sensitivity to employee welfare.”

The workers claim the public broadcaster owes them back pay for October to December 2022 and other dues for January to March 2023 outlined in the National Employment Council collective bargaining agreement.

Chikunguru was not picking up calls when The Standard contacted her for comment yesterday.

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