Samira Ahmed vs. BBC: tribunal over equal pay

29 October 2019

The BBC is appearing in court this week against one of its presenters, Samira Ahmed, who alleges that she has been disproportionately paid as a direct result of her gender.

Ahmed refers to the pay she received for her work on Newswatch, which is a 15-minute programme that seeks feedback from the public relating to the content delivered on the BBC. Points of View is another BBC offering, presented by Jeremy Vine, which Ahmed argues covers the same ground as Newswatch. She reveals that whilst she received £440 per show, Vine could command up to £3,000 per episode of Points of View, and she argues that the work undertaken by each presenter was comparable and therefore, their pay packets should have reflected this.

Coverage from The Guardian details how Ahmed was joined by fellow female colleagues and received applause when she arrived at the court on the morning of Monday 28 October. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) is representing the presenter and will assert that Ahmed is entitled to equivalent pay for equivalent work, suggesting that the gender pay gap at the BBC is ‘monumental’. It is expected that the BBC’s legal team will counter with the argument that the programmes are different in their formats and are also aimed and intended for different demographics.

The BBC did publish its gender pay gap report for 2019 which alluded to a reduction in the gap for that year but it did acknowledge and address the issue of having too few women engaged in more senior ranked positions. The mean gender pay gap for 2019 was reported as being at 6.8%.

The tribunal is expected to span over the next seven days and the CIPP will report any updates or results of the case in our News On Line articles to keep you all informed.


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