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Go or take a cut, warns RTE chief

RTE is encouraging as many staff as it can to leave by telling them they will never get as good a redundancy deal again.

AND those that remain will face a raft of cuts and challenging changes to their jobs.

In a 'carrot and stick' letter to employees outlining the financial crisis at the national broadcaster, director general Noel Curran warned staff they would face compulsory redeployment at local and national levels and, where necessary, retraining in a bid to streamline the broadcaster's operating costs.

"This will be the final occasion that RTE will be able to provide voluntary exit facilities on terms based on pre-cut salaries before the June 29, 2009 pay cuts," Curran wrote.

"Given the financial position RTE is in and the scale of the financial challenge ahead of us, we will simply not be in a position to afford such a package in the future."

The station has also told staff it faces a "serious challenge" to cut €25m from its operating costs this year.

Next week, senior management is set to meet with staff to allay fears over cost-reduction measures, with further pay cuts not being ruled out.

"Managers will seek to be frank and clear about the changes that are happening in each and every area of the organisation," said Mr Curran.

"They won't be able to answer every question but they will certainly be as open as they can be."

Describing the situation facing RTE as serious, he said the moves would prove very difficult.

Staff at the station are already speculating a mass of closures of regional studios and the redeployment of workers to Dublin, Cork and Galway.


They also predict the axing of some radio shows, with presenters on other shows having to work longer hours on air to fill the gaps.

Mr Curran said the organisation would not be the same -- it would be smaller, differently structured and there would be a substantial change in operating models.

"If these initiatives fail to yield the necessary savings, RTE will have to consider a range of alternative approaches to reduce our cost base. These include further pay reductions for all staff."