Female presenter wins case against BBC for unequal pay

Ms Samira Ahmed was paid one-sixth of the fee earned by a male presenter on a similar show.
Ms Samira Ahmed was paid one-sixth of the fee earned by a male presenter on a similar show.

LONDON • A British female news presenter who was paid one-sixth of the fee earned by a male presenter on a similar show won her discrimination case against the BBC on Friday.

An employment tribunal ruled the broadcaster failed to prove the disparity in pay between Ms Samira Ahmed and Mr Jeremy Vine was "because of a material factor which did not involve subjecting the claimant to sex discrimination".

Both journalists present shows where the viewers are given a chance to air their opinions.

The BBC is regularly scrutinised over the amounts it pays top stars and has also faced several major stories about female staff being paid less than their male counterparts.

Ms Ahmed, who argued she was owed almost £700,000 (S$1.2 million) in back pay, welcomed the ruling.

"No woman wants to have to take action against their own employer. I love working for the BBC," she said in a statement released through the National Union of Journalists.

The BBC responded that Ms Ahmed was "an excellent journalist and presenter, and we regret that this case ever had to go to tribunal".

But it defended its actions. "We have always believed that the pay of Samira and Jeremy Vine was not determined by their gender," it said.

"Presenters - female as well as male - had always been paid more on Points Of View than Newswatch."

 
 
 

Ms Ahmed started fronting Newswatch in 2012 on £440 - the same as her male predecessor Ray Snoddy. Her occasional male stand-ins have been paid a near-identical amount.

Mr Vine took over on Points Of View in 2008 on £3,000 - £500 less than his predecessor Terry Wogan.

In 2018, journalist Carrie Gracie resigned as the BBC's China editor over what she called an "indefensible pay gap" with other international editors at the BBC.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 12, 2020, with the headline 'Female presenter wins case against BBC for unequal pay'. Print Edition | Subscribe