UTV Ireland job losses ‘unavoidable’ as TV3 announces restructuring

Some 40 open vacancies will be offered to 61 permanent UTV Ireland staff

 

Redundancies will be “unavoidable” at UTV Ireland following TV3 Group’s completion of its deal to buy the channel, the broadcaster said.

TV3 has advertised 40 open vacancies and said it hoped “many” of them would be filled by current UTV Ireland employees. UTV Ireland employs 61 permanent staff, meaning some job losses will occur.

“The proposed changes may result in unavoidable redundancies in UTV Ireland but where possible, staff will be offered redeployment opportunities within TV3,” a statement released by owner Virgin Media Ireland said.

The two companies will consolidate as one business under the restructuring programme, with the UTV Ireland operation leaving its current premises at Macken House in Dublin’s Docklands and moving to TV3’s headquarters in Ballymount.

TV3, which also owns 3e, confirmed its intention to continue to operate three free-to-air television channels. UTV Ireland is expected to rebrand before the end of the year.

Consultation period

TV3 managing director Pat Kiely said the combined TV3 Group business would be “better equipped” to compete against significant local and international broadcasters.

“We can now also play an increasingly bigger role in the development of Irish originated production and broadcasting. I am confident that our new three channel structure will drive the future potential and long-term growth of the business.”

Virgin Media Ireland is a subsidiary of Virgin Media in the UK, while its ultimate parent company is the global cable giant Liberty Global, backed by billionaire John Malone.

Virgin Media’s acquisition of UTV Ireland from temporary owners ITV plc was approved by Minister for Communications Denis Naughten in November. The deal also included a lucrative programming supply contract with ITV.

Losses at TV3 deepened to almost €17 million in 2015, the year in which it was bought by Virgin, as it battled what was then new competition in the shape of UTV Ireland. The group is already in a stronger financial position and has moved the ITV-distributed soap operas “Coronation Street” and “Emmerdale” back to TV3, the “flagship” channel in the group.

As of the end of 2015, TV3 Group employed 261 people, down from 274 a year earlier.