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RTÉ has questions to answer over hiring practices and contracts

1 November 2017

Statement by Senator Ged Nash
Spokesperson on Employment and Social Protection

Labour Party Senator Ged Nash has said that RTÉ has serious questions to answer over the nature of its employment contracts and hiring practices.

Senator Nash commented:

“Revelations on RTÉ’s Drivetime programme yesterday evening on the use of bogus self-employment arrangements at the national broadcaster are extremely concerning.

“According to the report, it appears that workers across the State company – from some of those who appear in front of the camera to technical staff - have been coerced into accepting these exploitative employment arrangements.

“These kinds of contracts are used to cut costs and disguise the true nature of the employment relationship, transferring all of the risk and few of the rewards to the contractor who is in everything but name an employee of the organisation.

“It is outrageous that a State broadcaster generously funded by the taxpayer uses questionable employment practices which result in the loss of holiday pay, sick pay, redundancy entitlements and other supports which are available to their directly employed colleagues who are sitting across the desk and who are doing precisely the same job.

“It is widely known that media organisations routinely take advantage of the hunger of talented young journalists, broadcasters, producers and technicians anxious to establish a foothold in an extremely competitive business. We should be entitled to expect better from RTÉ.

“The station’s official response to a series of questions from the Drivetime programme in relation to a breakdown of the range and nature of employment contracts at the organisation leaves a lot to be desired.

“If such a curt response to questions of this nature were obtained from another commercial semi-state company, apoplexy would correctly break out in Montrose.

“As a taxpayer-funded broadcaster with a particular role and mandate in our national life, citizens are entitled to hold the station to a high standard of practice.

“I have written today to the Director General of RTÉ seeking detailed information on the range and nature of employment contracts at the station.

“I have also requested from the station clarity on the qualification criteria the station uses to award contracts of indefinite duration amid claims that no such objective criteria exists.

"Hard-working and conscientious RTÉ staff at all levels and in all departments deserve fair play, straight dealing and transparency."