This week unequal pay claims were reopened against the BBC as 12 female BBC workers, headed by Newswatch Presenter Samira Ahmed, are poised to take it to tribunal over equal pay. They aim to recoup £500,000 in back pay.
Ahmed is presenting the case that in her role as Presenter of Newswatch she was fulfilling an equivalent role as her male counterpart Jeremy Vine who presented BBC One’s Points of View series.
Despite the alleged similarities in job function Ahmed was paid £440 per episode whilst Vine received up to £3,000 per show.
However, the claim has been refuted by the BBC, which has stated that it believes the roles to be vastly different due to Points of View’s long history as a ‘popular entertainment programme’, whilst it believes Vine to be a ‘household name’.
Whilst Ahmed aims to be the first presenter to take her equal pay claim to tribunal it’s not the first time the BBC has been at the centre of an equal pay dispute.
In July 2017 publication of the BBC’s presenter salaries revealed a stark pay imbalance between men and women. The information sparked a public outcry and campaigns by staff members to institute a new system based solely on merit and promoting equality.
Despite corporation announcing that it would attempt to rectify the situation, BBC China Editor Carrie Gracie resigned from her post the following year citing a continued culture of pay inequality.
In an open letter, Gracie - who had been employed by the BBC for more than 30 years - accused the corporation of having a "secretive and illegal pay culture" and said that the BBC continues to face a "crisis of trust".
Later in the year, a PwC report into the case concluded that there was no gender bias regarding pay decisions that the BBC below senior management level, but admitted that the corporation’s approach to setting pay in general “has been far from perfect”.
Regards Ahmed’s case, presenters such as Gracie, who won her own push for equal pay last year, stated that they were ‘watching the case carefully and preparing to follow Ahmed’s lead’.