RTE staff reject cuts to holidays for €1.1m saving
Published 11/10/2011 | 05:00
RTE has failed to get cuts worth more than €1m after staff rejected plans to reduce their holidays by two and a half days.
Workers have voted narrowly against proposals that would have compensated the station for agreeing to resume paying increments to over 600 staff.
Earlier this year, RTE agreed to pay the wage increases that had been suspended -- and unions and management came up with the plan to cut holidays, following weeks of talks.
But the ballot result is a major blow to the broadcaster, which faces a deficit of €17m this year.
It aimed to reduce its payroll bill by €1.1m by cutting annual leave and getting staff to work extra hours. But workers voted against the cost cuts despite the fact that their unions recommended the proposals to the 2,000-strong workforce.
Sources said the chief objection to the plans was the fact that they would penalise those with lower leave entitlements as everyone would suffer the same reduction.
The plans also meant around 100 workers who did not work a full 78 hours a fortnight would have to make up the hours at a later date.
An RTE spokesman said it would now ask an internal tribunal to come up with alternative plans.
"RTE notes the vote by Trade Union Group staff members in respect of the particular proposals put forward to ensure the achievement of cost savings of €1.1m over a 12 month period," said a spokesman.
"Consequently RTE will now refer this matter back to the Industrial Relations Tribunal to discuss and ensure that these savings will be made."
Last May, the tribunal issued a recommendation that the broadcaster immediately restore the increments.
But it said unions and management should come up with alternative savings.
Other cost reductions have been implemented to bring a looming €30m deficit, which was predicted last January, down to €17m by the end of the year.
The cuts were achieved by not filling vacancies and reductions in other expenditure.
RTE also got 237 applications for exit schemes last month.
It had only sought 80 departures by the end of next month, but the schemes were dramatically oversubscribed.
However, the €10m voluntary redundancy and early retirement plan will not deliver savings for two years.
The station expects to break even in 2013.