RTE staff reject pay cut plans as management 'disappointed' with the outcome

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RTE staff have roundly rejected proposals for pay cuts and changes to working conditions at the public broadcaster.

The result of a ballot of union members found 87% of those polled voted against the proposals, while 13% voted in favour.

Cuts in the RTÉ/Trade Union Group Stability Agreement were estimated to be worth €8.3 million and are aimed at addressing financial difficulties at the cash-strapped broadcaster, which has pledged to deliver €60m in cost savings over three years.

The TUG is made up of members of the National Union of Journalists and other trade unions.

The group said in a statement: “The proposals have been overwhelmingly rejected by members across all unions.

“The clear message is that these proposals are now off the table.

“Staff will not accept a pay cut and RTÉ management must reflect on that reality.

“Our members have not had a general pay increase for 13 years.

“It is now a matter for RTÉ to consider the outcome of the ballot.

“The Trade Union Group will continue to be available for discussions with management and our engagement in negotiations will be informed by the outcome of the ballot.”

RTE is seeking pay cuts ranging from 3.5% to 5.35% and reductions in allowances, though those earning less than €40,000 a year would not be affected.

The proposed pay cuts would see those paid between €40,000 and €70,000 lose 3.35%, while those on salaries ranging from €70,000-€100,000 would see a reduction of 3.85%.

Staff on salaries of €100,000-€130,000 would lose 4.35%, while those earning €130,000 to €160,000 would see a cut of 4.85%.

The highest paid staff earning above €160,000 would face paycuts of 5.35%.

Had it been accepted, the agreement would have lasted for two years starting May 1, with the cuts reversed after that time.

Management at the broadcaster said it was disappointed with the outcome.

A spokesperson for RTE said: “The proposal for temporary pay cuts and some amendments to conditions has been rejected in the recent staff ballot.

“The graduated pay cuts and other related savings were a key part of the drive to reduce costs, alongside strategies to grow commercial revenue.

“RTÉ will now have to consider other options as to how best to make the necessary savings while continuing as much as possible to protect programming and services for the public, and retain jobs.

“Further engagement will take place with the TUG.”

The rejected deal would also see paid sick leave halved, while self-certified sick days would have dropped from five annually to seven over the two years.

Salary protection for workers on long-term illness would have fallen from 75% to 66%, with RTÉ reducing its contribution from 33% to 20%.

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A group of Anti-Lockdown protesters clash with Gardai) in Grafton Street, Dublin, during Level 5 Covid-19 lockdown. On Saturday, Fabruary 27, 2021, in Dublin, Ireland.

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RTÉ has also launched a voluntary redundancy scheme seeking 60-70 job cuts.

Source: Dublin News