Saturday 19 April 2014

RTE offers its staff at least €850 a month in paid leave

Ryan Tubridy is pictured on the set of this yearís Late Late Toy with Adam Byrnes (8) Kilkenny and  Sam Kirwan (8) Navan and it promises to be supercalifragililsticexpialidocious! The theme of this yearís show is based on the much loved musical film Mary Poppins. Picture Andres Poveda
Ryan Tubridy - pictured on the set of this year's Late Late Toy with Adam Byrnes (8) Kilkenny and Sam Kirwan (8) Navan - is one of the RTE stars to have taken a pay cut. Photo: Andres Poveda

RTE has offered to pay staff more than €850 a month to take a career break in its continuing effort to cut costs.

Under a new incentivised career break scheme, staff can take one, two or three months off and will be paid €850 upfront per month or 1.25pc of basic salary, whichever is the higher.

Staff can also opt for a year off with an upfront payment of €10,000.

A nine-day fortnight is also on offer, for which staff will be paid 90pc of their salary. Even an eight-day fortnight would be considered, as would job share with salary proportionate to the amount of time worked, according to the station.

"RTE will consider each application based on the ability of the section to facilitate the arrangement without incurring extra costs", RTE told staff.

The state-funded broadcaster reported a €65m deficit last year -- though much of that was down to redundancy costs.

There has been little improvement this year, particularly in advertising revenue, which will make it difficult for the station to break even for 2013, as ordered by Communications Minister, Pat Rabbitte.

The state broadcaster has implemented a number of cost-cutting plans in the last few years in a bid to control mounting costs. These included pay cuts ranging from 2.5pc to 12.5pc in 2009, two generous voluntary redundancy schemes which saw staff numbers fall from 2,300 in 2010 to 1,850 today, as well as previous career break schemes.

Earlier this year, the station's director general, Noel Curran, finally got round to cutting the salaries of its high paid stars.

Ryan Tubridy's salary was cut from €723,000 in 2011 to €495,000 under the 'Late Late Show' presenter's current contract while weekend radio presenter, Marian Finucane's salary dropped from €492,000 to €295,000.

Negotiations with Pat Kenny to cut his salary from a high of €950,000 in 2008 were ongoing before Kenny decided to quit RTE for Newstalk.

A spokesperson for RTE would not disclose the number of people who applied for the incentivised career scheme, but it is understood the leave of up to three months proved the most popular.

The station can refuse an application if the individual has to be replaced or is critical to the station.

"We have lost over 500 staff in the last few years and the station has seen extensive cuts, so applications will be considered carefully," said the spokesperson.

RTE is currently processing applications for the incentivised career breaks and staff will be informed of their success or otherwise early in the New Year.

Irish Independent

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