Zimbabwe: TV staff 'on hunger strike'

Staff at Zimbabwe's state broadcaster have reportedly gone on hunger strike in protest at remaining unpaid since April.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) workers say their three-day "spiritual fast" aims to force managers to restore their salaries and medical aid scheme, according to the Daily News. It says the broadcaster - which runs four radio stations and two TV channels - has been relying on overdrafts to finance its soaring wage bill "driven mostly by the excessive and unsustainable perks for top management". Bosses are said to earn about $20,000 a month and drive top-of-the range Mercedes and Toyota cars.

World Bank figures measure average yearly income at about $660 per head but many Zimbabweans survive on grain handouts. In May, ZBC employees reportedly wrote to President Robert Mugabe, saying they were failing to buy food, pay rentals and school fees for their children because they were not being paid. But a ZBC spokesman told the Daily News that workers could arrange salary advances, adding: "We have been attending to all workers' needs." MPs are reportedly calling on the government to sort out the situation.

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