Ireland: RTÉ journalists say top pay packets of up to €500k are now 'indefensible' and call on bosses to slash salaries - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Ireland RTÉ journalists say top pay packets of up to €500k are now 'indefensible' and call on bosses to slash salaries

18:45  22 november  2019
18:45  22 november  2019 Source:   independent.ie

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Ray D'Arcy, Ryan Tubridy are posing for a picture: Ray D'Arcy and Ryan Tubridy. Picture: Damien Eagers © Damien Eagers Ray D'Arcy and Ryan Tubridy. Picture: Damien Eagers

RTE journalists have called for the pay of top earners to be slashed by almost €300,000 as they branded such salaries "indefensible” in light of the broadcaster's financial troubles.

A meeting held at the Montrose campus yesterday by members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) resulted in them calling on RTÉ to take stronger action to deal with the ongoing financial crisis, which saw them record a €13m deficit last year.

The meeting said that wages should mirror top civil service rates, which range up to €207,590. Some of RTE's top stars earn almost €500,000.

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In a strongly-worded statement, the RTÉ sub-branch noted the gravity of the current financial crisis that has swamped the organisation.

It noted that RTÉ calls the situation an "existential" one. In light of that fact, NUJ members say it’s even more indefensible that RTÉ continues to pay "exorbitant salaries" of up to €500,000 to a small group of people in the company.

"We understand the public anger at this and believe that that anger is justified," reads the statement.

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The RTÉ proposal to cut 15pc off payments to its "top contracted presenters" - which includes Ryan Tubridy at a salary of nearly €500,000 and Ray D’Arcy, who earns €450,000 - "does not go far enough."

"We are calling on RTE management to immediately move to reduce the fees of the top presenters so that no-one in the organisation is earning more than the top civil service salary, that of Secretary General," it added.

"We believe this would be an important first step towards addressing the valid concerns felt by the public who we serve."

Sources told Independent.ie that NUJ members were talking about senior managers and presenters on wages above €200,000 up to the half-million-euro mark.

The Chairwoman of the NUJ Dublin Broadcasting Branch, Emma O’Kelly, said the money paid to the top 10 earners was outrageous and insensible.

"We know where the public is coming from on this," said Ms O'Kelly, who is also RTE's Education Correspondent.

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"We are not arguing with somebody looking for these pay levels. Our problem is with RTE paying that kind of money."

There has been a wave of discontent among RTÉ staff, who number more than 1,800, in the wake of a raft of cost-cutting measures announced in a bid to get the company back in the black.

Proposals from Dee Forbes and the RTÉ Executive Board include slashing top presenters’ fees by 15pc and the board members taking a 10pc cut. They also want to sell off the RTÉ Guide, move Lyric FM from Limerick to Cork and close down the broadcaster's digital radio stations, including RTÉ Gold.

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