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Job cuts hit RTE as Montrose faces e25m profit fall

RTE is rolling out major cutbacks as it is expected to lose up to €25m this year.

The state broadcaster will be unveiling a voluntary redundancy scheme over the coming months, which could see anywhere from 50 to 250 jobs cut in a bid to rein in finances, according to high-ranking sources.

Current budget projections indicate that RTE will lose up to €25m, in comparison to just €5m last year, and sources say this greater deficit will see even more jobs lost in 2011.

Montrose insiders revealed that 50 to 60 jobs would be targeted to rein in the company's losses, but it is believed the numbers could be closer to 250.

The average salary of an RTE employee is €61,000. The station would save €3m per year if 50 staff availed of the scheme.

But redundancy packages are not the only plans being considered for budget maintenance, Montrose bosses are also looking at cutting production budgets for TV and radio programmes, as well as slashing the salaries of some of RTE's biggest earners, including Marian Finucane, Ryan Tubridy and Pat Kenny.



Deficit

"Given the size of that projected deficit, I would say that nothing is off the table," a source revealed.

"If you look at the cost of past severance deals, I imagine management will have a significant target in mind to make it worthwhile."

However, an RTE spokesperson denied the reports, saying: "RTE and the Trade Union Group at RTE have been in discussion regarding a range of existing and future cost saving plans across the organisation," the spokesperson said.

"The discussion will include consideration of a voluntary redundancy programme.

"The numbers envisaged as possibly availing of such a programme, if confirmed, are far less than those suggested."

Staff were told in January that RTE could only sustain losses for the next two years before it ran out of cash.

cmcbride@herald.ie