RTÉ has warned unions that staff face a 4% cut in pay and allowances if the station fails to secure €25m in cost savings this year.

The warning comes in a document issued to the Trade Union Group today.

The station has also warned that should it fail to achieve targeted savings, as part of its "fall-back position", it could also close a number of units and cease certain activities.

The move is aimed at cutting €25m from annual operating costs.

The 2012 deficit is forecast to exceed €50m once restructuring costs are factored in.

Among immediate cost reduction measures, TV programmes could suffer as the scope of in-house and commissioned TV programme production will be reduced.

In addition, the document seeks implementation of "genre-specific targeted low cost TV production models".

RTÉ wants an immediate reduction of costs at 2fm, and refers to a reduction in the "extent" of the Radio 1 schedule.

Lyric FM and Raidio na Gaeltachta will be "repositioned" as will the RTÉ Guide.

Measures include:

  • Reducing staff numbers by this autumn through a voluntary redundancy and early retirement programme
  • There will be compulsory redeployment across all departments and locations as needed.
  • Monthly pay will be introduced from September - most staff are currently paid on a fortnightly basis.
  • Automatic replacement for leave vacancies will also be eliminated.
  • Regional operations will be reviewed and "optimised" by the end of this year, including the closure of the London office already announced.
  • Property holding costs will be reduced and group wide facilities will be reorganised. Technology functions will be integrated.
  • RTÉ's suppliers will be hit through a continued reduction in "talent" payments for performers, as well as less use of contractors, who will receive lower rates.
  • There will also be a cut in supplier charges.
  • As administration costs are compressed, television, radio and online digital services will be streamlined.
  • News resources will be reviewed and the group sports operation will be reduced following consolidation.
  • In addition, the station wants to negotiate more flexible work practice agreements.
  • Group-wide communications, marketing, PR and promotional activities also face restructuring.
  • Performing groups will be reorganised on the basis of a lower total budget.

The management document also envisages the physical separation of RTÉ Networks Ltd and rationalisation of transmission and distribution sites after the switch off of the analogue signal.

The immediate cost reduction strategy for 2012 aims to reduce personnel related costs by at least €15m this year, with a further €10m coming from non-staff measures.

A flat 4% pay cut would save the company €5m from its pay bill.

TUG noted that the document was RTÉ's proposal for cost savings, which would be subject to normal industrial relations negotiations.

Talks are expected to get under way in around two weeks.