SOLIDARITY FOR SAMIRA
BBC journalist Samira Ahmed supported by colleagues including Naga Munchetty as equal pay case begins
TV and radio presenter Samira Ahmed was cheered by colleagues as she took the BBC to court over unequal pay yesterday.
Samira, 51, is claiming she was paid less than male colleagues doing “very similar jobs”.
She says she got £465 per episode of Newswatch while Jeremy Vine received £3,000 for doing Points of View.
Arriving at the Central London Employment Tribunal yesterday, Samira was backed by colleagues including BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty and journalist Carrie Gracie, who resigned as BBC China Editor last year over the gender pay gap.
Ms Gracie, 57, said: “Samira is the first of the BBC woman who came together in 2017 whose case has reached the tribunal stage.
“Her case is emblematic and extremely important to all the other women still fighting.
“We have been trudging through the internal processes, but the BBC is extremely resistant to hearing the voices of these women.
“I’m shocked by the number of women, some of whom I don’t even know, who are taking the BBC to court over the gender pay gap. I’m aware of at least 12 other tribunals in the pipeline.
“These are extremely brave people. It’s an expensive and stressful process, and potentially damaging to their careers.
“The BBC continues to insist it has changed and is dealing with cases, but it’s not doing it adequately or fast enough.
“Two years ago, we thought a reasonable discussion with management would be enough to solve this. When the Director General apologised to me, we hoped it was a turning of the tide.
“But they have been defensive and resistant to admitting their mistakes.It’s painful and uncomfortable to be in this place, but many of us feel it’s necessary.
“There is a huge amount of solidarity among staff. We will not be divided and ruled.”
The BBC has hired Rachel Crasnow QC, one of the top employment lawyers in the country, to fight Samira’s claim.
It says Vine’s higher salary was justified because Points of View is “entertainment” and news jobs command lower pay.
A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC is committed to equal pay. Points of View is an entertainment programme with a long history and is a household name with the public.
Newswatch – while an important programme – isn’t.
“Samira was paid the same as her male predecessor when she began presenting Newswatch.
“Gender has not been a factor in levels of pay for Points of View. News and entertainment are very different markets and pay across the media industry reflects this.”
Samira’s case did not get underway yesterday due to legal arguments and is now due to start tomorrow.
In a statement, Samira said: “I love my job on Newswatch despite it being difficult and challenging.
- news credit the sun