BBC branded 'disgrace' after pay and contracts investigation

BBC branded 'disgrace' after pay and contracts investigation

The BBC has been dubbed a ‘disgrace’ for allegedly forcing staff to take on work without sick pay, maternity leave, pensions or other benefits.

MPs slammed the broadcaster for putting workers on “life-changing contracts” and also for paying female staff less than male counterparts.

The MPs comments come in an investigation from the digital, culture, media and sport committee who looked into pay at the institution.

The committee’s report found that salaries at the BBC were decided upon by individual managers who had devolved powers to make their own pay decisions.

What did the report find about gender pay?

There was a difference between the BBC’s PwC-run report into pay at their firm and what the Committee report found.

The committee report said: “The Equality Act 2010 states that men and women must be paid the same for doing the same work, like work and work of equal value. Our evidence suggests women within the BBC are working in comparable jobs to men but earning far less.

"The corporation was unable to give us a good reason for why or how pay discrimination has been left unchallenged for so long.

"The BBC must take urgent action to remove discriminatory pay practice and its legacy from the organisation."

The BBC ran its own internal investigation which found there was no evidence of gender bias in pay and in its grievance process.

The gender pay gap at the BBC is 9.3% in the favour of men. A group at the organisation who represent women said the BBC should implement recommendations from the Committee’s report.

These include meeting legal obligations on pay and moral duties as an organisation funded by the license fee payer.

Earlier this year, the BBC announced a new pay framework with narrower pay bands, cutting the use of contracts. They also added that some male employees will get ‘substantial’ pay cuts.

They added that some female and male presenters will also receive pay rises. They stated they will also strive for greater transparency.

Woman’s Hour Presenter Jane Garvey said the framework did nothing to help women compare their salaries to men for doing the same work.

‘Life changing’ contracts

The MP’s report also commented on BBC’s use of personal service contracts – which means people set-up their own companies and work as contractors instead of staff.

Those on these contracts would not get the benefits that staff get – like sick and maternity pay.

The report alleges that the BBC coerced some employees to give up these benefits to work as contractors. Some on these contracts are now being chased by HMRC for tax back-pay.

One BBC worker admitted she attempted to kill herself over the tax back pay issue saying the way the BBC behaved “reduced her to tears”.

The Committee Chairman Damian Collins said: "Many are now facing bills of hundreds of thousands of pounds in unpaid income tax and National Insurance contributions. These are life-changing consequences.”

Seb Maley, CEO at Qdos Contractor added: “It’s a damning indictment of The BBC’s mishandling of many individuals [who] are still living through the financial and emotional consequences of it.

“Therefore, it’s important that any organisation engaging contractors doesn’t set a policy that forces them into a working arrangement for its own financial benefit, or simply out of convenience.”

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