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Tuesday 2 September 2014

RTE pays 80 staff €10m – on top of €3m for star broadcasters

Cormac McQuinn

Published 01/04/2013 | 05:00

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Pat Kenny: €630,000 pay
Ryan Tubridy: €495,000
Marian Finucane: €295,000

CASH-strapped broadcaster RTE forked out €10m on salaries for its 80 best paid staff members in a year – on top of the €3m it paid its stars.

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The Irish Independent can reveal details of the lucrative wages available to RTE staff, which are separate to six-figure fees paid to presenters like Ryan Tubridy and Pat Kenny.

For the first time, RTE has disclosed the salary scales for dozens of jobs at the station, from newsreaders to camera men, from make-up artists to orchestra musicians.

The figures reveal:

• Some 83 staff members on pay of more than €100,000.

• Eighteen were paid over €150,000.

• Three had basic salaries of more than €200,000.

• One worker described as "part-time/casual" was paid between €100,000 and €150,000.

• Average pay at the station stood at €60,300, almost twice the average industrial wage.

The pay bill for RTE shows a minimum cost of €9.5m to the 83 staff on more than €100,000 in 2011. In contrast, new figures from TG4 show it paid its entire 86-strong staff a total €4.4m last year.

The details of salaries paid to RTE staff come amid outrage surrounding RTE's announcement of what it pays its top stars – most of whom are contract workers. RTE said it was on course to pay €3.3m to its seven highest paid contract workers this year. Those include 'The Late Late Show' host Ryan Tubridy, whose 2011 pay was €723,000.

He accepted a 32pc pay cut last year bring his fee to €495,000.

Pat Kenny's fees remained stable on €630,000 for the years 2010 and 2011 and his contract is up for renewal this year.

'Liveline' presenter Joe Duffy is paid €300,000, down 27pc from his pay in 2008, radio host Marian Finucane is on €295,000, down 48pc, and 'Prime Time' presenter Miriam O'Callaghan's latest agreed fee stands at €211,167.

Director of news Andrew Hanlon at rival station TV3 has said the stars' pay was "outrageously high", and Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the fees as "quite extraordinary".

Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD Terence Flanagan – a member of the Oireachtas communications committee – described the fees as "grossly excessive".

RTE, funded by a combination of licence fees and commercial revenue, is expected to show a €50m deficit for 2012.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said RTE was required "to break even at the end of this year", adding "the advice I have is that that will be done".

The RTE figures show 145 staff on between €80,000 and €100,000, 437 paid between €60,000 and €80,000, and 991 employees paid between 40,000 and €60,000.

There were 437 staff on less than €40,000, with more than half of these described as "part-time/casual" workers.

RTE paid almost €130m in basic salaries in 2011, employing an average of 2,150 staff during the year.

The figures for staff pay released to the Irish Independent by RTE show that all seven members of the broadcaster's Executive Board were paid more than €150,000 in 2011.

Three of the senior executives – including director general Noel Curran – were paid more than €200,000. Mr Curran's total pay package came to €287,000, including €58,000 in pension contributions.

RTE refused to name the other two executives whose pay exceeded €200,000 "as this is regarded as personal information".

The 2011 board also included current managing directors of television and radio Glen Killane and Claire Duignan, RTE digital boss Muirne Laffan, and managing director of corporate development Brian Dalton. Former director of news Ed Mulhall and then-chief finance officer Conor Hayes made up the remainder of the board.

The RTE spokeswoman also refused to reveal the name or job description of the part-time/ casual worker paid as much as €150,000, again saying this was "personal information".

Audit

She said she couldn't get details on the part-time contract but said "part-time can constitute up to 95pc of hours" of a full-time staff member.

In a statement accompanying the release of the figures, RTE said: "To put these figures in context, please note that RTE staff have accepted pay cuts of between 8pc and 12pc (in 2009) with pay freezes and the suspension of increments for all staff on manager grade or above."

RTE said it employed 1,858 staff at the end of December 2012, 11pc down on the same time the previous year. It said pay figures for 2012 were not yet available as they were "part of an ongoing year-end audit".

Irish Independent

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