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rté cuts RTÉ to seek more than 60 voluntary redundancies and vacancies to be ‘suppressed’

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The RTE headquarters at Donnybrook in Dublin (PA)

The RTE headquarters at Donnybrook in Dublin (PA)

The RTE headquarters at Donnybrook in Dublin (PA)

RTÉ is set to seek more than 60 voluntary redundancies and will not fill all vacancies in a bid to make savings.

The move comes after staff overwhelmingly rejected pay cuts in a ballot as managers attempted to cut €60m from costs over three years.

In a message to staff today, director general Dee Forbes said a voluntary exit programme that closed a few weeks ago was oversubscribed.

Management had initially sought 60 voluntary redundancies.

An RTÉ spokesperson was unable to say how many extra redundancies are under consideration.

Ms Forbes said those who are successful in their application for redundancy will be notified by management by May 24. They will have a week to decide whether to accept.

In addition, she said the station is “actively suppressing” a range of vacancies and where possible seeking not to replace those who retire.

She said the station will have to re-evaluate local functions and teams to minimise replacement hires and will review fixed term contract roles to assess the necessity to renew.

Ms Forbes noted the impact of Covid-19 has persisted 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.

The station will tender for a wide-ranging review and restructuring of its grading system and skill requirements, with a view to "rationalising and enhancing organisation agility".

"By doing so, our aim is to create clear career frameworks that will allow for greater flexibility and mobility, allowing new opportunities for you while also reducing our dependency on external resources and overtime," she said.

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She said this will begin mid-summer and conclude next year to “allow make further decisions on the best shape and size of the organisation we need to face the future".

Ms Forbes said a current blend of onsite and remote working will continue until September and RTÉ is developing a robust remote working policy.

She said the station respects that previously proposed cuts had been clearly and decisively rejected by members of the trade union group.

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

However, she said the requirement for long-term, sustainable cost savings had not diminished.

She said there was a need to deliver on plans to reduce operating costs by €60m between 2020 and 2023.

"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.

Last month, RTÉ managers said they were considering other options to make savings after staff rejected the wage reductions.

Workers voted by 87pc against proposals to reduce their wages and sick pay and roll out a voluntary redundancy programme.

Those earning more than €40,000 a year were set for pay cuts ranging from 3pc to 5pc from this month under the proposals.

The pay cuts ranged from 3.35pc for those earning between €40,000 and €70,000 to 5.35pc for those earning over €160,000.

Reductions in allowances, salary protection and sick pay schemes were also planned. Sick leave was set to be halved and allowances cut by 10pc. Leave arrangements would have been standardised.

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