Friday 20 April 2018

Department queries RTE plans for €16m redundancy scheme

Broadcaster's exit plan for 200 staff is dubbed 'generous' by civil servants

'RTE is planning a significant restructuring to return the organisation back to financial health.' (stock image)
'RTE is planning a significant restructuring to return the organisation back to financial health.' (stock image)
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has flagged concerns to RTE that its new redundancy scheme is overly generous in its current form.

It is understood that RTE is planning to offer between four and six weeks of redundancy pay for each year of service, depending on length of service.

However, the department has pointed the broadcaster to other redundancy schemes such as those offered by the HSE which have lesser terms.

Sources said that a more conservative scheme, possibly offering three to five weeks per year of service would be preferred by the department.

It is understood that RTE believes it needs to make a generous offer to employees in order to achieve that scale of redundancies it is seeking. It has emphasised to the department that the scheme is less generous that the previous scheme, which ended in 2012.

RTE is planning a significant restructuring to return the organisation back to financial health.

This will require 200 redundancies and the plan will be tailored to appeal to some of the longer serving and better paid

"It has to be generous, otherwise people won't go," said one source.

It will be capped at two years' pay. The average salary in RTE is just under €60,000, with average payouts likely to be around €80,000, which equates to a €16m scheme.

The details of the scheme are due to be presented to staff by the end of August and it is expected that discussions with the department will not cause a delay,

While the scheme may be tweaked following negotiations with the department, RTE will ultimately make the final decision.

A spokesman for the department said it has " a shareholder function in relation to the operations of commercial State bodies. As such, the department would have an interest in future plans and operational initiatives to develop the commercial sustainability of RTE now and into the future."

A spokesman for RTE declined to go into details about the discussions: "RTE's financial position remains very challenging and RTE is closely focused on the absolute need to reduce its cost base further.

"It is in this context that RTE will share full details of a Voluntary Exit Programme with staff in the near future."

Earlier this month, RTE confirmed it lost €20m in 2016 and this year is also challenging as the advertising market remains sluggish. It has also been caught in controversy over gender pay gaps.

Sunday Indo Business

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