Tuesday 19 September 2017

I'm not leaving RTE, says Tubridy after station chief's pay ultimatum

Breda Heffernan and Ken Sweeney

'Late Late Show' host Ryan Tubridy spoke out last night to say he intended to stay working with RTE and that he would be amenable to any pay cut the broadcaster made to his salary.

He told the Irish Independent: "I'm going nowhere. I won't be going to any of RTE's competitors. I am staying with the station."

Tubridy was speaking as RTE refused to publish details of its stars' salaries despite saying it would do so three months ago.

It means the figures currently in the public domain -- from 2008 -- are out of date and do not take account of voluntary pay cuts accepted by top presenters two years ago, or changes to their contracts.

The failure to publish the figures comes after RTE bosses warned its stars that they would have to accept a pay cut -- or leave.

Tubridy acknowledged RTE's financial situation and how this would affect his future earnings.

"I realise everything has changed and I certainly won't be fighting a cutback of any sort. I know how the salary climate has changed," he said.

The national broadcaster used to publish the salaries of its highest earners two years later to protect the "commercially sensitive information".

It has previously said that it was not legally required to provide such information, but was doing so in the interests of transparency. However, it has now not published any figures for more than two years.

In July, a spokesman told the Irish Independent that stars' earnings for 2009 would be released "in the coming weeks".

The station yesterday said the figures were being audited and would be released shortly. An exact date could not be given.

When released, the figures are expected to be at least 10pc lower than the previous year following a voluntary pay cut accepted by the top earners.

Contracted stars, who include Pat Kenny and Marian Finucane, accepted cuts of at least 10pc while salaried staff, such as Derek Mooney and Sean O'Rourke, had their pay cut by up to 12.5pc.

Include

RTE is now seeking a 30pc pay cut on 2008 rates from its highest-earning presenters, although this will include the 10pc cut already taken.

Miriam O'Callaghan has also already agreed to the new cut. Efforts to contact some of the other big names yesterday were unsuccessful.

The cut will be applied as presenters' contracts come up for renewal between now and the end of 2013. Contracts can last from one to five years and it is understood that those of Tubridy, Finucane and Joe Duffy are to be reviewed in the near future.

Mr Curran issued a public ultimatum on Monday to his top stars telling them if they didn't accept the new cut, they could leave the station.

Meanwhile, TV3 yesterday said it would not be matching RTE's pay rates, pointing out that the independent sector "could never afford" it.

Andrew Hanlon, TV3's director of news, said that for too long RTE had "overpaid" its presenters and this was not sustainable, particularly when there was no rival broadcaster trying to lure their talent away.

Irish Independent

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