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RTÉ to increase voluntary redundancies in light of staff rejecting pay cut plans

The broadcaster has also said it is to suppress posts and not replace retirees.

Image: Mark Stedman via RollingNews.ie

RTÉ IS TO seek more than an initially planned 60 voluntary redundancies, saying that its voluntary exit programme is oversubscribed. 

The broadcaster has also said it is to suppress posts and not replace retirees. 

This comes after staff last month rejected a cost cutting plan that envisaged temporary pay cuts of between 3-5%. 

The plan was part of efforts by the national broadcaster to reduce costs by €60 million over three years, with the temporary pay cuts believed to target a saving of over €8 million a year. 

The ballot came about following negotiations earlier this year between management and the RTÉ Trade Union Group (RTÉ TUG).

A proposed plan was then put to a ballot of staff members, which was last month rejected by a margin of 87% by 13%. 

In a bulletin to staff this morning, RTÉ director general Dee Forbes said the broadcaster respected that the proposals had been rejected by members of the TUG. 

“It is clear that pay reductions in particular are not an acceptable part of the response to the agreed structural financial challenges we face,” Forbes said. 

Forbes added that notwithstanding the results of the ballots, the requirement for “long-term, sustainable cost savings” had not diminished. 

“This reduction in costs, alongside growing our commercial revenue and reform of the TV Licence system, is essential if we are to return RTÉ to a stable financial position,” she said. 

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Forbes said that RTÉ will now be seeking in excess of the planned 60 departures under the Voluntary Exit Programme, which she said was oversubscribed. 

She also outlined that in addition to the redundancy programme, RTÉ is “now actively suppressing a range of vacancies and where possible seeking not to replace those who are retiring”. 

Forbes also noted that the impact of Covid-19 has lasted for longer than envisaged or budgeted for.

She said RTÉ would be “actively suppressing non-essential discretionary spend”.

“Additional unplanned production disruptions, sports deferrals and curtailments, and continuing operating savings due to restricted site activity will all yield additional operating savings this year,” she said.

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