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Friday 6 December 2019

Tubridy pay would drop €300,000 under proposal by RTE colleagues

RTE big earner Ryan Tubridy
RTE big earner Ryan Tubridy

Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy's earnings would be slashed by almost €300,000 under a drastic proposal put forward by his RTE colleagues to cut the station's costs.

RTE journalists have called for a cap on "exorbitant" fees and salaries after warning that pay packets of up to €500,000 are now "indefensible".

Tensions are running high at the Montrose campus as an NUJ meeting led to a call to introduce a €207,590 limit on earnings, mirroring the top rates paid to the secretaries general of government departments.

Union members called on the station to take stronger action to deal with the financial crisis, which saw it record a €13m deficit last year.

Crisis

They said RTE's plan to slice 15pc off payments to top contracted presenters such as Ryan Tubridy on a salary of nearly €500,000 and Ray D'Arcy, who earns €450,000, "does not go far enough".

The union's demand for a cap of €207,590 would mean a pay cut of nearly €300,000 for some. Ryan Tubridy's fees would fall by €287,410 if a cap of this magnitude was imposed.

In a strongly-worded resolution, the RTE sub-branch noted the gravity of the current financial crisis enveloping the station, as it seeks €60m savings over the next three years.

It said RTE calls the current situation an "existential" one. In light of that fact, NUJ members said it is even more indefensible that it continues to pay "exorbitant salaries" of up to €500,000 to a small number of people.

"We understand the public anger at this and believe that that anger is justified," it said.

It added that the Netherlands had brought in a law stopping anyone working in the public or semi-public sector from earning more than €187,000.This is what the country's Prime Minister earns and extends to the Dutch public broadcaster.

Education Correspondent and Chair of the NUJ Dublin Broadcasting Branch Emma O'Kelly said the top ten pay levels were outrageous.

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

The 15pc pay cut for top hosts will start from January but may not apply to all top 10 earners.

RTE confirmed that only contracted staff will take the cut, so it would affect seven people and exclude direct employees such as like Bryan Dobson, Sean O'Rourke and Mary Wilson.

However, they will be subject to any cuts agreed with unions.

Miriam O'Callaghan, a contract presenter, had not had any meetings about the plan for a 15pc pay cut but said: "Of course if RTE is in trouble and the DG asks me for a cut, I will be willing to take that cut."

Meanwhile, director-general Dee Forbes and her executive team will take a 10pc pay cut. Ms Forbes earns €250,000 a year, a €25,000 car allowance and a pension of €63,000.

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