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RTÉ staff earning over €40,000 set for pay cuts of up to 5pc under proposed deal to cut costs by €60m





RTÉ staff earning over €40,000 a year are set for pay cuts ranging from 3pc to 5pc from May in a new proposed deal to cut costs by €60m.

A voluntary exit scheme will also reduce the workforce by around 60 people and is set to be announced in a few weeks.

The proposed agreement says those earning below €40,000 will be exempt from the cuts.

Pay cuts range from 3.35pc for those earning between €40,000 and €70,000 to 5.35pc for those earning over €160,000.

There will also be reductions in allowances, salary protection and sick pay schemes “in line with public service levels”.

Sick leave is set to be halved and allowances cut by 10pc.

Staff leave arrangements will also be standardised.

Under the proposal, RTÉ will move away from “privilege days” to two nominated company days, Good Friday and Christmas Eve.

The cuts are temporary and are to be restored “to the level that applied immediately before the agreement began after April 30, 2023”.

Management’s original target was a reduction of 200 staff but sources said the target will be partially met when 70 to 80 members from the national symphony orchestra leave the station.

Workers are now set to ballot on the deal brokered by management and the trade union group over the last few weeks.

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The station aims to reduce costs by €60m over three years or €20m a year.

It is understood that the proposed new deal would contribute over €8m a year of this.

The trade union group said in a statement that it has concluded negotiations “on the proposed temporary alterations to terms and conditions of employment”.

Talks had been suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic but recommenced recently.

“We are now in a position to put management’s revised proposals to ballot,” it said.

“While there are different views within the TUG negotiating team about the necessity for these proposals at this time, we confirm that they represent the final position of RTÉ.”

It said in negotiation with management, the union group set maintaining employment and achieving alterations to RTÉ’s original proposals as priorities.

In a note to staff, RTÉ director general Dee Forbes said fairness had been central to the proposed agreement,

She highlighted cuts already taken by the highest contracted earners and management team as part of the €60m plan, who will not be affected by these proposals.

“RTÉ gave a commitment to reduce the fees to our top contracted on-air presenters by 15pc and, as recently announced, that overall reduction has been achieved,” she said.

She said from January last year the executive board agreed to take a 10pc reduction in pay and the RTÉ board agreed to waive their fees.

"As the RTÉ/TUG Stability Agreement recognises upfront, RTÉ is experiencing ongoing financial difficulties that require immediate measures to ensure our continued viability,” said Ms Forbes.

“I am very conscious that measures that affect the pay and conditions of all staff are difficult, particularly at this time. But they are necessary as part of a series of measures to return RTÉ to a sustainable financial position. I believe the measures are proportionate and fair and crucially, as the agreement states, they reflect RTÉ’s continued commitment to the principles of protecting employment, content and output."

RTÉ said in a statement that the proposed “stability agreement” aimed to improve its financial stability.

“While Covid-19 has had a significant impact on RTÉ revenues, and some costs, the financial challenges facing RTÉ remain acute,” it said.

“These challenges must continue to be addressed if RTÉ is to continue to play an important role as Ireland's public service media and provide vital news, information, entertainment and support to the public.”

The proposed deal would begin on May 1 this year and remain in force until April 30, 2023.

Talks on the proposed deal were chaired by former Labour Court chair Kevin Duffy.

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