Monday 18 November 2019

'Challenges are real' - RTÉ to slash 200 jobs with some of biggest TV and radio stars to get 15pc pay cut

  • Highest paid contracted presenters to get 15pc pay cut
  • 200 jobs to go in 2020
  • Staff to be briefed on looming changes tomorrow
RTE boss: Dee Forbes
RTE boss: Dee Forbes
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

Some of RTÉ's biggest stars are set to have their pay cut by 15pc with 200 staff set to lose their jobs in a massive overhaul as the national broadcaster looks to reduce costs significantly.

RTE said it needs to reduce staff numbers by 200 in 2020.

It said that top-contracted on-air presenters will see their fees reduced by 15pc

Staff will be briefed personally on the looming changes tomorrow.

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In a statement last night, RTÉ said its executive board will take a 10pc reduction in pay and the RTÉ board will waive its fees.

Among a number of cost-cutting arrangements the RTÉ Guide is for sale with the broadcaster set to close its digital radio stations.

Graphic of RTE cuts
Graphic of RTE cuts

These stations include RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr Radio and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.

RTÉ Aertel will also cease to exist, while the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will transfer to the National Concert Hall.

Among the highest paid presenters at RTÉ are Ryan Tubridy, Ray D'Arcy, Joe Duffy, Marian Finucane and Miriam O'Callaghan - who are among their highest earners.

D’Arcy was the only high earning presenter who said recently he is prepared to take a pay cut from his €450,000-a-year salary.

RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes said "the challenges in front of us are real" and that "we are in a fight - a fight to sustain a viable public media in Ireland".

D'Arcy and Ryan Tubridy - Picture credit: Damien Eagers

"Our intention was to brief staff in full this week. However, given the sad passing of our colleague Gay Byrne, a decision was taken to postpone until next week. With so much detail now in the public domain, our first priority was to contact all staff immediately with an update on the revised strategy, and plans. Below is the plan in summary," Ms Forbes said.

The broadcaster said it must reduce projected costs by €60m between 2020 and 2023.

The statement said that RTÉ will consult with staff and unions on a number of initiatives to include pay freezes, tiered pay reductions, review of benefit and work practice reforms.

"But RTÉ does have a plan, which we are confident can address many of the challenges we face and bring Ireland’s national public broadcaster to stability," Ms Forbes said.

"However, Government needs to act to ensure there is a future for public service media in Ireland. I am clear about what role RTÉ should play in Irish life, but I am also clear that we cannot do it unless Government fixes the TV Licence system. We shouldn’t be under any illusions; we are in a fight – a fight to sustain a viable public media in Ireland.

"We remain in discussions with Government. We are doing all we can to return RTÉ to a stable financial position, but we will not be able to reinvent public media for future generations, nor fulfill our remit, without immediate reform of the TV Licence system," she added.

Chair of the RTÉ Board Moya Doherty said last night that it "fully supports" the Executive’s plan.

She singled out the TV licence fee system for criticism, saying it was "broken" and "has not been fit for purpose for a long time".

She said reform of the system is "the responsibility of Government alone".

The broadcaster promised to develop live and on-demand RTÉ Player product, building towards a more integrated service offering video and audio.

It will move RTÉ’s biggest sporting moments to RTÉ One, and increase investment in live TV moments and big events such as ‘Late Late Show’ Specials.

An on-demand and digital strategy will be tailored specially for children.

While its Limerick studio will shut down, RTÉ will continue to provide a mid-west news service in the city.

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