Sunday 19 August 2018

RTE chiefs facing backlash from staff as pay review to only include those on permanent contracts

RTÉ boss Dee Forbes
RTÉ boss Dee Forbes
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

RTÉ chiefs are facing an angry backlash from staff after it emerged the station’s long-awaited pay review will only include those on “permanent and fixed term” contracts.

The terms of reference for the review, seen by the Irish Independent, do not include those who have negotiated lucrative presenting contracts with RTÉ management.

It means the review will not even consider the salaries earned by the station’s highest earners and whether there needs to be moves to close the gender pay gap.

The Irish Independent has also learned that staff who are members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) have arranged an urgent meeting in RTÉ today to discuss their response to the terms of reference.

Sources described the review last night as “flawed” and said staff are deeply unhappy that they were not invited to contribute to the terms of reference underpinning the review itself.

“Unlike the BBC, this review will not look at contract staff. It is effectively a review being carried out by RTÉ itself,” one source said.

“Staff were given no input and there was no proper consultation,” the source added.

The terms of reference were circulated to NUJ members in RTÉ last night.

They that the former chairman of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) Kieran Mulvey will present recommendations to RTÉ’s Director General Dee Forbes by September 30.

“As an equal opportunities employer with a close-to 50/50 gender profile across the organisation, RTÉ takes its obligations very seriously,” the document states.

“RTÉ has committed to conducting a review of Role and Gender Equality across employee groups to determine where gaps may exist.”

But crucially, the document adds:

“All permanent and fixed term contracted employees are in scope for this review.”

The controversy surrounding the gender pay issue at Montrose was prompted by the decision by the BBC to publish the details of the salaries paid to its best-known stars.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar recently intervened in the pay row, telling station bosses that he believes “strongly” in the principle of equal pay for equal work.

But the decision to exclude contract staff means that the majority of presenters earning six figure sums will not be included.

This is despite the fact that the gender pay gap erupted over the discrepancy earned between presenters doing similiar work, notably news anchors Bryan Dobson, who is due to move to ‘Morning Ireland’, and Sharon Ní Bheoláin.

RTE came under fire when it emerged Ms Ni Bheoláin was paid up to €80,000 less than Mr Dobson, who is now moving to present ‘Morning Ireland’ on RTÉ Radio One.

RTÉ recently brought forward for the publication date of the salaries of its highest paid earners in 2015 after coming under major pressure from both staff and politicians.

The figures show that Ryan Tubridy maintains his position as the best paid, with a salary of €495,000.

He is followed by Ray D’Arcy, who landed a €400,000 job after returning to RTÉ from ‘Today FM’.

Mr D’Arcy is followed by Joe Duffy (€389,988), Miriam O'Callaghan (€299,000),  Marian Finucane (€295,000),  Sean O'Rourke (€290,113) and Claire Byrne (€201,500).

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