Tuesday 21 November 2017

Prominent women at RTÉ demand emergency meeting over release of pay gap data

Caitriona Perry, RTÉ’s Washington correspondent. Photo: RTE
Caitriona Perry, RTÉ’s Washington correspondent. Photo: RTE

Anne-Marie Walsh

Prominent women at RTÉ have demanded an emergency union meeting after accusing the station of releasing data it had previously denied them and which "clearly" reveals a gender pay gap.

Some 29 women, including Washington correspondent Caitriona Perry and political correspondent Martina Fitzgerald, have sent a letter to the Trade Union Group seeking a meeting of all staff this week or next.

Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh is ‘not surprised’ by gender pay gap
Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh is ‘not surprised’ by gender pay gap

Others signatories include presenter Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, industry and employment correspondent Ingrid Miley, arts and media correspondent Sinéad Crowley, and other senior newsroom personnel including Emma O'Kelly, Vivienne Traynor, Orla O'Donnell, Fiona Mitchell and reporter Oonagh Smyth.

Sources said 'Six One' presenter Sharon Ní Bheoláin is not among the signatories as she previously quit the National Union of Journalists in a row after being photographed outside work.

She recently revealed she earns up to €80,000 less than her co-anchor Bryan Dobson.

Insiders said there was a "lot of annoyance and anger" and a feeling that management was treating female workers with disrespect after it released details of its wage gap to a Sunday newspaper that they had requested since July.

Disgusting. How can they justify this in 2017? Each and every one of these women should demand that this be sorted now and back dated. WOMEN ARE EQUAL.

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The gender pay-gap is a moronic feminist myth!

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Should the weather girl get payed the same as graham Norton. . Of course not. The ratings they bring in decides that

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The women are not getting paid too little. The men are getting paid too much.

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They said staff could not believe it would give the details to "outsiders", who could potentially have used the information to attack the station, rather than its own workers. The letter piles pressure on management to come up with a credible plan to tackle the issue as a review of pay equality at the station is due at the end of this month.

RTÉ has commissioned the former director general of the Workplace Relations Commission, Kieran Mulvey, to carry out a review and he is due to issue his recommendations by September 30.

"As a group of women and trade union members, we requested that the Trade Union Group calls an emergency meeting, either this week or next week, on the gender pay gap within RTÉ," said the letter that was sent to the Trade Union Group's executive last Monday.

Urgent

It said on foot of the figures that had been released "which clearly illustrate the existence of gender pay disparity", they believed "this is an urgent issue".

"The figures, which had long been requested by the NUJ and denied, deepen our concerns on this issue," they said.

"We believe an urgent meeting is necessary so that all staff across RTÉ can participate in a discussion about how to formulate a plan of action and bring our demands on this issue to management."

A request by the Irish Independent for the data under Freedom of Information legislation was previously turned down on the basis that it would be "injurious" to RTÉ, would not serve the public interest or could prejudice the outcome of the review process. However, the station obviously had a change of heart when it released the details last week.

The wage figures showed that almost three-quarters of those who earn more than €100,000-a-year are men. But more than half who earn less than €40,000 are women.

Of 104 staff on wages between €100,001 and €150,000, 31, or almost 30pc, are women.

In the highest salary band of €150,001 to €250,000, there are six women, or 28pc, compared with 15 men. The chair of RTÉ's Trade Union Group, Shirley Bradshaw, said the executive was "in the process of formulating a response" to the letter.

Irish Independent

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