EXCLUSIVE: ZBC CEO storms out of meeting after staff boycott

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By Andrew Kunambura

ZBC chief executive officer Adelaide Chikunguru reportedly stormed out of general staff meeting she had called for on Tuesday after workers boycotted in protest over a new employee grading system she recently introduced.

The controversial system, known as Patterson Grading System, was introduced last month, making a departure from the Parommes Grading System which was being used for years.

It is an analytical system which sorts jobs into six groups that are graded and grouped into two to three sub-grades, such as stress factors, individual tolerance, length of job and number of job responsibilities that correspond to organisational levels. The six grades, also called bands, define pay scales.

Chikunguru introduced the system last month, causing a huge uproar among workers.

Sources at the financially struggling State broadcaster said the increasingly unpopular CEO had called the meeting after massive disgruntlement over the new system, which they say ignores core business workers and prioritises supporting staff.

“People have a lot of grievances here,” a senior employee at the loss-making broadcaster said.

“She (Chikunguru) called for the meeting with staff on Tuesday. This would have been her second since she became CEO after the one which was held in the car park soon after her arrival. This one was supposed to be held in third floor staff canteen, but it eventually did not happen,” the source said.

“She walked out of the meeting after very few workers turned up. As soon as she walked into the canteen, she started to demand why there was such a low turnout. She particularly was not happy with the staff based at Radio Zimbabwe Studios in Mbare which had no representation at all,” the source added.

“It was a spectacle. She was fuming like someone possessed and throwing all the tantrums. She shouted: ‘people are disrespecting me here, tell me who is the boss of this place, yourselves or me’. She then walked out immediately after that and the meeting was aborted,” said the source.

Another employee who attended the meeting said: “To tell the truth, people are tired of the situation at the company. She rules with an iron fist.

“This new grading system was imposed on workers without any consultation. She wanted to meet the employees but did not send the agenda. Even the entire executive is rebuked and silenced in meetings. She dictates what she wants.”

Efforts to get a response from ZBC failed to bear fruit as its public relations manager Rumbi Moyo had not responded to inquiries by the time of publication.

Moyo however gave what appeared to be a stagged interview to a ZBC news reporter Friday morning where she claimed Chikunguru’s moves were aimed at improving workers welfare.

“Employee welfare is at the heart of everything on ZBC because we rely so much on on the great team of employees we have,” she said.