Saturday 24 March 2018

Newsreader Aengus wants RTE pay cuts reversed

RTE newsreader Aengus MacGrianna spotted canvassing outside the RTE canteen to be voted onto the board for workers' rights
RTE newsreader Aengus MacGrianna spotted canvassing outside the RTE canteen to be voted onto the board for workers' rights

Sam Griffin

Newsreader Aengus MacGrianna has called for slashed staff pay levels at RTE to be immediately restored, as he seeks election to the governing board of the national broadcaster.

The corridors of Montrose have been decked out with campaign literature over the past week as the popular broadcaster and 'Celebrity Masterchef' contestant faces off against Keith Hyland, a lighting director, originally from Chile, who has worked in RTE since 1985.

Every five years RTE staff members run to be elected to the public service broadcaster's statutory board, previously known as 'the Authority', as a staff representative. The position was once held by RTE legend Anne Doyle.

Seven board members, including the current chairman Tom Savage, will all be replaced this month as their five-year terms come to an end.

But it is only the staff rep position, currently held by the religious and social affairs correspondent Joe Little, that is decided by a vote.

The other positions, including that of chairperson, are all government-filled.

In his manifesto, MacGrianna calls for the restoration of pay levels, which were slashed in 2009. He also wants to see more home-grown and Irish- language programmes.

"After the introduction of pay cuts in 2009, I decided to put myself forward as union rep to ensure that the crisis could not be used as an excuse for huge unnegotiated changes at RTÉ," he states.

"I believe it's now time for RTE to exit crisis mode with a view to generating real growth and creativity.

He adds: "Workers at RTE lead the way in voting for pay cuts, now it's time for RTE workers to lead the way again and demand that our cut pay be restored. Pay must be part of any recovery/expansion plan for RTE."

An RTE source said Mr MacGrianna had been campaigning "very actively" around the Montrose campus and was "odds-on" to win election.

"The posters are everywhere. He has a massive campaign. Other newsreaders like Brian Jennings and Kate Egan have been campaigning with him," the source said.

MacGrianna's opponent, Keith Hyland, has worked on the 'Fair City' set and the 1997 'Eurovision Song Contest'. He is married with two daughters and is a classic mini enthusiast.

Voting is open to all RTE staff.

Irish Independent

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