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cutting costs RTÉ will 'probably' go to industrial relations tribunal if staff do not vote for temporary pay cut, says Dee Forbes

Employees at RTÉ are voting over the next few weeks whether to accept the cuts, which are supposed to be restored after two years.

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RTÉ boss Dee Forbes

RTÉ boss Dee Forbes

RTÉ boss Dee Forbes

RTÉ will “probably” have to go to the industrial relations tribunal if staff do not vote for a new pay cut, their director general Dee Forbes said today.

Employees at RTÉ are voting over the next few weeks whether to accept the cuts, which are supposed to be restored after two years.

Speaking today on RTÉ Radio One’s The Business, Ms Forbes said that it’s part of a plan to make RTÉ more sustainable for future generations.

“Back in 2019, we outlined a vision for the future,” she said. “It really depends on us stabilising and increasing commercial revenue, it means increased public funding, but it also means us reducing our cost base.

“And we committed in that document to reducing our cost base by 60 million over a three year period. And staff is a piece of that, it’s not the biggest piece - it’s about 15pc.

“If the ballot isn’t passed then we’re back on the table again, and we’re probably at the industrial relations tribunal.”

Ms Forbes also addressed the salaries of some of RTÉ’s top earners, saying that costs have come down over recent years.

“There’s always commentary on various things at RTÉ,” she said. “I think what is being shown over the last number of years is that those costs are coming down.”

“Our top earners have taken a 15pc cut. The executive board has taken a 10pc cut.

She was asked to address the €800,000 spent on car allowances in RTÉ, and said: “As we move the organisation into a place of stability, anomalies - like car allowances - which are part of a package, we’ve got to address those.

“Many of these are legacy things that have been there for many, many years. We’ve got to come with a system that, I suppose, is fit for purpose for the 2020s and fit those for everybody’s salaries.”

As for how RTÉ will continue to generate revenue in the future, Ms Forbes also discussed the TV licence fee and it’s more outdated nature.

“We’ve been talking for many, many years about the fact that it’s no longer fit for purpose in an age where you know, people are watching and listening in very different ways,” she said.

“There is €50 million being lost to the Irish creative sector through non-collection or evasion every year. We have and continue to ensure that that message is out there.”

The future of the media commission has also been established in part to look into what the licence fee should be replaced with.

Finally, Ms Forbes also spoke about how there were originally plans to sell the RTÉ guide. These were then shelved in December of 2019.

“Absolutely we put the RTÉ guide for sale,” she said. “But it wasn’t to be sold at any price.

“We didn’t get a good enough offer for the guide, and again the guide makes money for RTÉ.

“It just wasn’t the right thing at that time.”


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