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RTÉ to ask over 250 staff to take redundancy package

The State broadcaster is being restructured internally and attempts are being made to reduce its €20 million deficit.

The redundancies will be voluntary and are expected to be completed over the next two years.
The redundancies will be voluntary and are expected to be completed over the next two years.
Image: Niall Carson via PA Images

STAFF AT RTÉ are being asked to consider taking redundancies and early retirement as the State broadcaster continues to restructure its organisation in order to reduce its massive deficit.

As was first reported in the Irish Times, RTÉ will be looking for 250 staff members to take the voluntary redundancies over the next two years.

But RTÉ’s media correspondent Sinead Crowley said this morning that she understood “they would take 300 [redundancies] if that was available”.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, RTÉ said that initial reports were “incorrect” and that “staff are being updated later today on further detail around the restructuring of RTÉ and a Voluntary Exit Programme and early retirement scheme will be outlined to staff”.

The national broadcaster, under the new management of Director General Dee Forbes, is trying to reduce its massive €20 million deficit – seven times the amount of the previous year’s deficit.

In June of this year, nearly nine acres of land at RTÉ’s Montrose headquarters was sold for €107.5 million.

Forbes defended the sale at the time, saying it “does not represent a ‘bonanza’ or a ‘windfall’” for the broadcaster, and that funds raised will not be used to reduce operational deficits.

RTÉ has been operating with vastly reduced commercial and licence fee income, now in the region of €330m, compared to €440m in 2008, and has been under-investing in the organisation for nearly a decade now. That is unsustainable.

Forbes had previously suggested that the cost of the TV licence should be raised from €160 to €175 to boost RTÉ’s revenue so that it could reinvest in programming.

“RTÉ is playing catch-up in an industry and market that is evolving rapidly,” she said.

Crowley told Morning Ireland today that the redundancy packages on offer were divided depending on the experience of the staff member:

“So what we know this morning is the terms that are on the table… are divided between people that have had more than 10 years’ service and less than 10 years’ service.”

  • If you have more than 10 years’ service, RTÉ is offering four weeks pay per year of service, plus your statutory entitlement of two weeks pay – that’ll be capped at two years’ salary
  • If you have less than 10 years’ service, the offer is two weeks’ pay per year of service plus that same statutory entitlement.

“Definitely there is an encouragement for staff with more service to think about exiting at this stage,” she said.

Dee Forbes is expected to speak with staff about the terms on offer at a meeting this afternoon.

The package has to be signed off  by the government and is expected to cost in the region of €25 million – though that figure depends on who opts for the redundancies.

Read: RTÉ lost €20m last year covering ‘onerous’ events like the Olympics

Read: RTÉ has sold off part of its Donnybrook HQ for more than €100m

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