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Wednesday 13 December 2017

'Furious' female RTE staff demand meeting over gender pay gap

Washington correspondent Catriona Perry was among the RTE staff who signed a letter sent to the Trade Union Group
Washington correspondent Catriona Perry was among the RTE staff who signed a letter sent to the Trade Union Group

Prominent women at RTE have demanded an emergency union meeting after accusing the station of releasing data it had previously denied them, and which "clearly" reveals a gender pay gap.

Twenty-nine women, including Washington correspondent Caitriona Perry and political correspondent Martina Fitzgerald, have sent a letter to the Trade Union Group seeking a meeting of all staff either this week or next.

Others signatories include presenter Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh, industry and employment correspondent Ingrid Miley, arts and media correspondent Sinead Crowley, and other senior newsroom personnel including Emma O'Kelly, Vivienne Traynor, Orla O'Donnell, Fiona Mitchell and reporter Oonagh Smyth.

Sources said Six One presenter Sharon Ni Bheolain was not among the signatories as she previously quit the National Union of Journalists after being photographed outside work.

Annoyance

She recently revealed she earned up to €80k per year less than co-anchor Bryan Dobson.

Insiders said there was a "lot of annoyance and anger" and a feeling that management was treating female workers with disrespect after the company released details of its wage gap to a Sunday newspaper but had refused the workers' requests to see the figures since July.

They added staff could not believe RTE would give the details to "outsiders" who could then attack the station.

The letter from staff will pile pressure on management to come up with a credible plan to tackle the issue, with a review of pay equality at the station due out at the end of this month.

RTE has commissioned former director general of the Workplace Relations Commission, Kieran Mulvey, to carry out the review and he is due to issue his recommendations by September 30.

"As a group of women and trade union members, we requested that the Trade Union Group call an emergency meeting, either this week or next week," said the letter that was sent to the Trade Union Group's executive.

Wage figures recently showed almost three-quarters of those who earned more than €100,000 a year at the station were men. Of 104 staff on wages between €100,001 and €150,000, just 30pc were women.

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