SIPTU representatives have condemned a lack of clarity concerning proposed job losses and the continued use of irregular contracts of employment at RTÉ, ahead of an appearance before the Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sports, and Media today to discuss the future of the national broadcaster.

SIPTU Services Divisional Organiser, Teresa Hannick, said: “We welcome the opportunity to appear before the Committee to set out our views on the implementation of RTÉ’s strategic vision ‘A New Direction for RTÉ’ and the station’s misclassification of workers’ employment status and its impact.

“For several years our members have had deep misgivings relating to the governance of RTÉ. In November 2023 our members read about the RTÉ management’s strategic vision plan in the media. They found out about their future through leaks before being told directly by their employer.”

She added: “Since then there has been little information or detail as to where 400 job losses, proposed in the plan, will come from. The Director General has stated publicly that News and Current Affairs will not be affected by these job losses. However, he has not indicated if any other areas will be affected, which would suggest that the bulk of these 400 job losses would more than likely come from operational areas. Most of the workers in these areas are SIPTU members.”

Commenting on the findings of inquiries into the misclassification of workers in RTÉ as bogus self-employed, Hannick, said: “Unions raised concerns for many years about the way employees were hired in RTÉ. Workers were hired as freelancers and contractors when it would have been more appropriate to hire full-time employees. Contracts were also ended in what appears to have been a move to prevent workers from achieving permanent employment status.”

She added: “SIPTU is currently representing members in the Workplace Relations Commission regarding their claims for the losses incurred and are still incurring because of RTÉ management’s misclassification of their employment status.”

SIPTU is the largest trade union in RTÉ, including workers in Administration, Operational, Technical and Directing Grades, Musicians and Actor members of Irish Equity, which is an affiliate of SIPTU. A large proportion of these members earn less than the average industrial wage.

Picture: Union members protest outside RTE protest amid payments controversy in June 2023