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RTE executives claim €822k in car allowances as staff on lower grades fight plans for pay freeze

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Dee Forbes has an allowance on top of her €250k pay

Dee Forbes has an allowance on top of her €250k pay

Dee Forbes has an allowance on top of her €250k pay

It has emerged that RTE executives are receiving €822,218 a year in car allowances while the station tries to drastically reduce its costs.

The allowance being paid to 70 managers is worth almost as much as the organisation plans to save by imposing a pay freeze on its staff.

It is the single highest amount in a list of allowances claimed by the station's workforce, which is worth a total of €4.1m.

Details of the allowance, described as "car/travel", appear in a confidential internal document drawn up during talks on the broadcaster's plan to save €60m over three years.

RTE director general Dee Forbes received a €25,000 allowance on top of her €250,000 pay, according to recent figures - although she took a 10pc pay cut along with other executives at the start of the year.

Sources said the allowances paid to 70 employees related to staff in management grades and ranged from around €5,000 to €25,000. They said many may also be able to claim expenses for taxi use.

The value of the allowances - which are worth an average €11,745 each - is likely to anger lower-paid staff at the cash-strapped station.

It is understood that they get less-costly mileage rates rather than an allowance, although many are required to be on the road regularly in the course of their duties.

"If there are any non-managers among the 70 they would be a very small number," said a source.

Sources also revealed that a recent decision by the station to withhold incremental wage increases due to almost 500 workers would save in the region of €1.1m.

Redundancies

Talks on a range of cost-cutting measures as part of a plan that includes 200 voluntary redundancies have broken down.

RTE said it was not in a position to pay incremental wage increases to any of its staff as its financial situation remains "grave".

Almost 500 workers are affected by the decision.

The RTE Group of Unions said in a statement that management had suspended talks "to facilitate the station's commitment to dealing with the consequences of Covid-19".

When asked for a comment on the allowances, RTE said it had a variety of allowances available to both managers and staff alike, "as with many complex organisations".

"Such allowances vary by function and role," it said in a statement.

It said allowances were among a number of measures which are currently part of wider discussions about reform of the organisation as it faces the future.

"RTE does not believe it is appropriate to comment on any one allowance or measure in what is an integrated and confidential discussion between RTE and it's trade union group," it said.

"Discussions have been paused by RTE to allow RTE and its staff to focus on maintaining crucial public services during this hugely challenging time.

"That is our priority."

RTE's financial difficulties led to the announcement of cost-cutting measures before Christmas as part of efforts to save €60m over three years.

They included plans to cut 200 jobs and impose 15pc salary cuts on some of its best-paid talent.