RTÉ to clamp down on licence fee, as it cuts 200 jobs

The broadcaster is looking to shed some 10% of its workforce

RTÉ to clamp down on licence fee, as it cuts 200 jobs

The RTÉ Montrose campus in Donnybrook, Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The state broadcaster RTÉ is to cut at least 200 jobs as part of restructuring.

Director-General Dee Forbes told a staff briefing the jobs will be lost through voluntary retirement and redundancy.

The job cuts represent around 10% of its current staff levels.

Ms Forbes said the organisation needs to reduce costs, adding that RTÉ has lost €100m in revenue since 2008.

She said RTÉ has asked for an increase in the licence fee and that this process is "ongoing".

Ms Forbes adds: "RTÉ has been operating with vastly reduced commercial and licence fee income, now in the region of €330m, compared to €440m in 2008, and has been under-investing in the organisation for nearly a decade now.

"That is unsustainable. The current licence fee, at just over 40c a day, is I believe great value.

"Any notion that it be doubled is nonsense.

"What I am focused on is reform of the fee collection system to recover some €40m per annum that is lost to the entire Irish sector every year through evasion."

Director-General Dee Forbes | Image: RTÉ

Ms Forbes also said changes to its organisational structure will see RTÉ become a smaller, more nimble organisation over the next 18 months.

"Wide-ranging changes" to its executive management structure will also see new content divisions replace existing radio, television and digital ones.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) say it will be working with sister unions in the RTÉ Group of Unions to ensure the redundancy programme does not have an adverse impact on the organisation's ability to meet its obligations.

"At a time when journalism is under threat RTÉ must protect the public service ethos of RTÉ", the union says.

"Workers at RTÉ have embraced considerable changes in their terms and conditions of employment and in working practices.

"The NUJ, in common with colleague unions, will consider all proposals in relation to restructuring of RTÉ."

It comes as the broadcaster has announced plans to sell 8.64 acres of its land in Dublin for €75m.

Reaction

A spokesperson  for Communications Minister Denis Naughten has said there is "no chance" of TV licence fee being doubled to €320.