RTE to reduce staff by 400 and cut some services, reports suggest

RTE will shed some 400 jobs and cut a number of services as part of their plan to handle financial losses.

Under the strategic reform plan handed to Government, details of which leaked on Monday, the voluntary redundancies are to be made by 2028.

The plan, reported by RTE News, will also prioritise upgraded technology, live and online content, while some services will be reduced and there will be more production in Cork and in other regions in the years ahead.

More content will be produced by the independent sector, RTE reported, and it will continue to reduce the pay of top presenters as well as retain a 2023 pay cap.

RTE said in a statement that it will publish its strategic vision document on Tuesday, after a meeting with unions and staff representative groups and a briefing of staff by director general Kevin Bakhurst.

The Trade Union Group (TUG) called on RTE to release the full document to staff immediately.

A spokesman said: “It is not acceptable that staff should find out about the plan in this way and now be worried about the security of their jobs.”

The NUJ’s Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley condemned the leaking of the strategy as a “further blow to trust of staff”.

“The National Union of Journalists supports the call by the RTE Trade Union Group for immediate circulation of the strategy document. I acknowledge that the director general wants to put his proposals in context but that ship has now sailed and the only way to allay the fears of staff is immediate release of the document,” he said.

“We are gravely concerned at the scale of the proposed redundancies and will require detailed information on how it is proposed to maintain core services and the impact on staff of such drastic proposals.

“Staff will want an assurance that there is a genuine, sustainable long plan based on clearly defined objectives rather than a set of announcements aimed at securing government support for short term funding.”

Last month Mr Bakhurst warned the broadcaster would become insolvent by early spring next year without additional funding from the Government,

Ministers are withholding 40 million euro, to plug a gap created by plummeting licence fee revenue, pending the delivery of the strategic reform plan from RTE.

The Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee was told RTE is facing a loss of between 10-12 million euro this year.

Speaking at a press conference in Dublin earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the government would not allow RTE to fail.

“I believe RTE is an essential service, it’s a public service broadcaster and we’re not going to allow it to fail, we’re not going to allow it to cease to operate,” he said.