RTÉ ‘slash and burn’ cost-cutting leaves workers ‘carrying the can’, union says

Siptu agreed to resist plan in the wake of ‘gross mismanagement’ at broadcaster

The cost-cutting plan unveiled by RTÉ management has been described as a “slash and burn” policy which will make “ordinary workers carry the can for poor governance and gross mismanagement” in an emergency motion unanimously backed by delegates at the Siptu biennial conference in Galway on Tuesday.

The motion, proposed by the union’s arts, culture, print media and sport arm, called on Siptu to resist the proposals being officially unveiled on Tuesday in both the industrial relations and political spheres. Siptu has almost 1,000 members at the broadcaster across a wide range of roles.

The plan envisages the broadcaster making savings of some €10 million annually by closing a number of services and cutting 20 per cent of staff.

Reacting on Tuesday afternoon to confirmation to numbers she had described on Monday as “shocking” Siptu’s organiser in the sector, Teresa Hannick, called for “the reversal of the 400 job cuts announced today and for RTÉ to engage with trade unions to find a new approach which defends jobs, working conditions and quality public service broadcasting.”


The motion adopted on Tuesday afternoon called for “the full weight of Siptu industrially, politically and in campaigning” to be put “behind the effort to protect our members, good union jobs and quality public service broadcasting in RTÉ”.

“The ‘New Direction’ (the title of the plan) announced in recent days amounts to a cost-cutting, outsourcing agenda underpinned by the slashing of jobs that the trade union movement cannot and will not stand for,” it said. “The release of this plan has strengthened our members’ resolve to fight against the ‘slash-and-burn’ policies being pursued by RTÉ management. Once again, we are seeing ordinary workers carrying the can for poor governance and gross mismanagement by a handful people who have walked away with big handouts.

“This approach must be rejected forcefully by our union with every resource at its disposal,” the motion concluded.

Earlier, Siptu Deputy General Secretary Gerry McCormack described the proposed loss of 400 jobs at the broadcaster as an “absolute disgrace”.

“Workers are paying the price for trumped up payments to others,” he said and the “incompetence” of senior management.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times