RTE's career breaks pay off
THE early retirements and career breaks offered by the national broadcaster are believed to have prompted a 140-strong exodus from Montrose to date, with another 50 or so expected to leave by the end of the year.
RTE set out its stall with staff last July, sending a memo advertising lump sums of €20,000, or 20pc of salary for a two-year break, and early retirement to over 55s.
The cash-strapped national broadcaster presented the move as an alternative to staff cuts, but management never detailed any target for the headcount reduction they were aiming for.
It is understood that a number around the 200- range was envisaged, a figure that now looks to be coming into sight.
The 140 who have left the payroll so far are believed to be roughly 50/50 split between early retirees and career-break enthusiasts.
The great -- and not insignificant -- unknown is the earning power of the departed, since the scheme was offered to everyone from researchers to presenters, though not to the biggest names, since they're on contracts rather than on staff.
When the call to action was made last July, RTE was grappling with a €68m gap between income and expenditure.
However, 2010 is understood to have gotten off to a more benign start, given the progress on costs last year, although the advertising outlook still remains "challenging".