Decisive first steps by new RTÉ Director General welcome – Sherlock

10 July 2023
  • Attitude to “talent” and contractors must change

Labour’s Media Spokesperson Marie Sherlock has welcomed the decisive action by incoming Director General Kevin Bakhurst but said that there is a long road ahead to ensuring that RTÉ comes through this crisis as a stronger public service broadcaster with fairer working conditions.

Senator Sherlock said:

“Mr Bakhurt’s four major commitments are a very positive start in the process of pulling RTÉ out of this self inflicted crisis.

“The commitment to a register of interests for all staff and contractors will be an important development and the promise of collective responsibility and accountability of the interim management team is a basic, but clearly necessary, development given all that has happened in RTÉ.

“However, Mr Bakhurst’s attitude towards “talent” within RTÉ and the lack of interest in reforming the contractor model is of concern and something I will pursue with Mr Bakhurst over the coming weeks.

“Ultimately, it was the contractor-agent model that largely contributed to the deadly serious crisis RTÉ currently finds itself in. I note that Mr Bakhurst has indicated that use of agents, and particularly engagement with some agents, is under review.

“These issues plus the long running problems relating to workplace culture and working conditions must be allowed for consideration within the new staff consultation group. It will be vital that the Trade Union Group of Unions will be a key part of discussion.

“A new review into pay, role, grades and gender equality is the other important development today.

“Already there is a report about workplace culture which was commissioned by RTÉ last year, its’ publication fiercely resisted by the organisation and it is now gathering dust.

“Trust in RTÉ is crucial. Overall, I think there is a very bad taste in the public’s mouth about this whole debacle. From ridiculous paychecks for some while others report from the toilet, a root and branch review of RTÉ is so desperately needed so it can return to focusing on delivering on its mandate to the public.”

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