Tuesday 12 December 2017

Cash-strapped RTE remains tight-lipped on bonus pay

RTE's losses reached around €20m in 2016 Photo: Getty Images
RTE's losses reached around €20m in 2016 Photo: Getty Images
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

Cash-strapped RTE has refused to say if senior managers will receive a pay boost of at least €1,000 this year as part of a special bonus scheme.

As the broadcaster gears up to shed at least 200 jobs, a number of executives could be entitled to a salary top-up, depending on individual performance.

Under the deal, which kicked in last year, extra pay will be granted on a sliding scale to those who achieve certain performance-related targets.

But the details of the relevant performance guidelines are not clear.

In a statement, RTE refused to provide the criteria which certain staff members will have to meet, in order to be eligible for the extra cash.

It said performance-related entitlements are "tied into pay restoration agreements".

"There is a wide and complex range of criteria in place," it added.

It is understood about 230 people could be in line for the special payout.

This comes at a time when the station is under increasing pressure to slash costs.

It was announced this week that between 200 to 300 jobs could be lost over a two-year period, as the station grapples with an unprecedented funding crisis.

Losses for the broadcaster reached around €20m in 2016.

Union chiefs reacted angrily to the prospect of bonuses being paid to senior managers.

Siptu Organiser Graham Macken stressed the payments should not be made at a time when staff are being laid off.

"We're in the process of pay restoration, following a number of hits taken by the general staff, when RTE were having some difficulties a number of years ago.

"Obviously any suggestion that there would be bonuses paid to senior management at this stage would be a concern.

"It would be frowned upon by ourselves if they were to receive any significant bonuses at a time when we're in pay restoration for existing staff, and in light of an announcement that there will be a number of individuals losing their jobs.

"I appreciate the job losses will be over a significant period of time and by voluntary means. But it still wouldn't be appropriate that they're increasing their costs - while they're in a process of trying to reduce their costs - for some sort of survival."

Meanwhile, figures obtained by the Sunday Independent reveal significant salary levels for certain staff.

Out of a total workforce of 1,899, records show that 22 employees, earn between €150,000 and €250,000.

A further 67 take home between €100,000 and €150,000, while 164 have a salary ranging from €80,000 to €100,000.

The average salary at the station stands at €56,000.

In a statement, RTE said that until 2015 management pay cuts had been in place for some time. It also said management increments have been suspended for a number of years.

"The latter were partially re-introduced in 2015 as a standard incremental payment of 1.75pc.

"To protect lower-paid managers, the minimum amount payable was set at €1,000. The situation is not comparable to bonus structures in other organisations."

RTE said the "substantive context" in this matter is that pay cuts and increment freezes have been observed for some years.

It said staff did this "uniquely in the public sector".

Sunday Independent

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