Business Irish

Monday 20 November 2017

RTE staff face 4pc pay cut if station fails to reduce costs

Fergus Black

STAFF at RTE have been warned they face a 4pc cut in pay and allowances if the station fails to reduce costs by €25m this year.

The latest warning came in a document issued to the station's trade union group yesterday as RTE battles a growing deficit which is forecast to exceed €50m once restructuring costs are included.

Following a call earlier this week by RTE unions for clarity on its cost-cutting plans, management yesterday produced a set of general proposals in a document presented to the group of unions at the station.

Last night one senior union source described the 4pc pay cut as not a proposal but a "last-resort" measure if all else failed.

It is expected that negotiations on the cost-saving measures will start on June 11.

Among its "fall-back" options should likely cost-reductions fall short of the €25m target are a flat 4pc pay cut in all basic salaries and allowances. The station believes this would deliver a minimum of €5m in savings a year.

The station also warned it could close a number of units and cease "particular activities" should savings not be met.

RTE is seeking redundancies under a voluntary scheme, which closes on June 15. Around 170 staff have so far expressed interest in availing of the scheme.

It is also proposing compulsory redeployment across all departments and all locations within RTE, the introduction of monthly pay from September, the elimination of automatic replacement for leave vacancies and the reduced usage of contractors.

Streamlining

Other measures proposed include a reduction in contractor rates and supplier charges and the streamlining of a number of television, radio and online digital services.

Earlier this year, RTE announced a 30pc pay cut for its top 20 earners and the closure of its London office as it introduced some of the most swingeing cuts in its history in an attempt to save €25m in costs.

The station has already lost 190 staff in a first round of redundancies and another round could reduce numbers working at RTE to 1,750 from a peak of 2,900 during the boom period.

Mystifying decision of Broadcast watchdog: Martina Devlin, Page 27

Irish Independent

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