'Tone of vengeance' in political sphere about RTÉ, says union secretary

'Tone Of Vengeance' In Political Sphere About Rté, Says Union Secretary
Regular RTÉ workers had not done anything to precipitate this. There seemed to be calls for them to be “punished collectively” despite problems “really resting at the door of senior managers.” Photo: Collins
Share this article

Vivienne Clarke

There is a “tone of vengeance” in the political sphere about RTÉ and a recruitment freeze had never been mentioned during discussions between unions and the new director general Kevin Bakhurst, according to RTÉ Trade Union Group Secretary, Cearbhall Ó Síocháin.

There were longstanding vacancies within the station and a freeze will have a detrimental impact on workers and their ability to do their job, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.


The consequences of a recruitment freeze would include an impact on career progression and implications for the gender pay gap report carried out last year at RTE which had promised greater career mobility and greater opportunities for women in the organisation, he added.

There were a lot of demands being made, said Mr Ó Síocháin. “But there seems also to be a sort of a tone of almost vengeance, effectively calling for the gutting of RTÉ, for the sale of Montrose, for staff to be fired, for budgets, to be slashed.”

When asked where such a tone was being expressed, he said it was in “the political sphere”.

Regular RTÉ workers had not done anything to precipitate this. There seemed to be calls for them to be “punished collectively” despite problems “really resting at the door of senior managers.”


For years staff positions have not been filled, he said, “so everyone left on the floor is picking up the extra workload.

"And I think management needs to realise that staff has won a considerable amount of support in the public, as they have continued to do their day jobs to the same standard as before, while all this noise is flying around at their head.

"And I think management need to realise that there is capital to be made there and to engage with staff and to work with staff and to get RTÉ back to where it should be.”

Management needed to start talking to staff and the unions. “They cannot continue to drop things on our plate and read about it in the papers.”


The issue of car allowances was something that the unions had been questioning for a long time, said Mr Ó Síocháin. There were different kinds of allowances, some of which would have to be investigated.

Labour party leader Ivana Bacik denied there is a “tone of vengeance” by Labour party representatives about RTÉ.

Ms Bacik told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that she had been struck by how little engagement there had been by RTÉ management with unions prior to the announcement of the recruitment freeze.

“So my sympathies, huge sympathies with the staff of RTÉ who've been working so hard throughout all this, trying to continue to do their jobs in the face of this. And in terms of vengeance, that's certainly not true of us in the Labour Party.


“I would say this as a political party, we're deeply committed to public service broadcasting, to ensuring there is sufficient resourcing to the national broadcaster.

“However, we are very concerned at the lack of regard for workers’ rights. I've met personally, along with my colleagues, with quite a number of RTÉ and well, I'm going to say employees, but RTÉ of course has regarded them as freelancers for a long time, is refusing to regard them as employees. This is an unresolved issue.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com