Europe

RTÉ plans to cut 200 jobs and reduce pay

Radio microphone Image copyright Patrick Daxenbichler

Irish public broadcaster RTÉ plans to reduce its staff by about 200 next year and introduce a number of pay cuts to address its "financial crisis".

The plans were leaked to the media before staff were informed, according to RTÉ News.

A review of the broadcaster's financial situation has reportedly concluded RTÉ needs to cut its costs by €60m (£52m) over the next three years.

It is to shut its digital radio network and sell its magazine, the RTÉ Guide.

Other measures include the closure of the existing studios in Limerick, however, a new studio will open for news coverage. Lyric FM production will move to Cork and Dublin.

Some presenters could face pay cuts of 15% according to the report, while the pay of executive board members will be reduced by 10%.

Last September, the media organisation's director general, Dee Forbes, told staff that its financial situation was unlike anything it had seen before and that its executive and board were reassessing everything it did.

A review on the future of the organisation has now been completed.

It said management would consult staff and unions on a number of initiatives, including a pay freeze and tiered pay reductions.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption RTÉ will close its digital radio network

'Broken' licence fee system

Ms Forbes said RTÉ had a plan and was confident that it could address many of the challenges it faces and bring the organisation to stability.

She also said RTÉ remains in discussions with the Irish government and is doing all it can to return to a stable financial position, but that it cannot fulfil its remit without immediate reform of the TV licence system.

An Irish TV licence currently costs €160 (£137) per year.

Other changes planned by the national broadcaster include the movement of major sporting coverage to RTÉ One, an increase in TV specials and "big events" like Late Late Show specials, and the enhancing of content on the RTÉ Player.

It also said it will invest in more high quality Irish drama and develop a new integrated media centre in Donnybrook, investing in a new digital infrastructure.

The review said the main challenges include changing audiences, declining commercial income and what it termed a "broken" licence fee system.

'Defining moment'

Chair of the RTÉ board, Moya Doherty, said it was "mindful of the fact that this change will be painful for many members of staff", adding that the licence fee system "has not been fit for purpose for a long time".

Ms Doherty said: "In order to support this process of transformation that we are embarking on and to achieve financial stability, the TV licence must be reformed. This is the responsibility of government alone.

"This is one of the most defining moments in the RTÉ's 93-year history. RTÉ has set out an ambitious journey of transformation which will support it to provide audiences with the quality public service broadcasting that it wants and deserves."

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