RTÉ staff face pay cuts if €25m cannot be saved


RTÉ STAFF face further pay cuts across the board of 4 per cent if savings of €25 million cannot be found within the organisation by the end of this year.

A reduction in RTÉ’s schedules, the scaling back of 2fm’s costs, the end of the automatic replacement for leave vacancies and compulsory redeployment are among the measures contained in a document that RTÉ management circulated to staff yesterday.

They arise from a meeting earlier this week between management and the trade union group (TUG) when management spoke in general terms about the changes needed to ensure further pay cuts did not have to be introduced.

RTÉ staff agreed to pay cuts of between 2.6 per cent and 12.5 per cent in 2009 when the full extent of the recession hit.

In March, RTÉ director general Noel Curran said the broadcaster’s financial situation remained difficult and measures would have to be taken to deal with it.

The proposals will form the basis of negotiations taking place over the next couple of weeks.

The biggest cost reductions will be in redundancies, with RTÉ management seeking the equivalent of 200 redundancies by next autumn. The deadline for the next round of redundancies is in two weeks.

The closure of the London offices is confirmed in the document although there is no indication that some of the regional studios under threat will definitely close. The document calls for the regional offices infrastructure to be reviewed by the end of the year.

RTÉ management is eeking a “revitalisation” of 2fm’s revenues and an “immediate scale-back of 2fm’s costs”. The station has traditionally been a profit-maker for RTÉ, but despite a reorganisation it has struggled since the death of popular presenter Gerry Ryan two years ago.

The reduction in the extent of the RTÉ 1 schedule may mean a reduction in programmes in the evening or at night when there are fewer listeners. There is also a proposed reduction in the scope of in-house and commissioned TV programme production.

Reductions in contractor rates and supplier charges are proposed as part of the mix with an ongoing reduction in talent payments.

Mr Curran signalled last March that the 30 per cent reduction in fees paid to the top 10 presenters in RTÉ would be extended to the top 20 as well.

The document calls for a re-positioning of the RTÉ Guide, Lyric FM and Raidió na Gaeltachta although what that repositioning means is not spelled out in the document.