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NUJ slams “monumental” pay gap at the BBC

BBC presenter Samira Ahmed to challenge the public broadcaster at an employment tribunal.

The National Union of Journalists (JUJ has condemned the “monumental” pay gap between men a women at the BBC, as one of its members prepares to appear at an employment tribunal tomorrow.

BBC presenter and NUJ member Samira Ahmed will appear at an employment tribunal from tomorrow, Monday 28 October, to challenge unequal pay at the BBC, in a case backed by the NUJ.

The case, which will be heard over seven years tomorrow at the Central London Employment Tribunal, will focus on Samira’s contracts on the BBC programme Newswatch, which she has presented since 2012.

The BBC presenter will draw comparison between the amount she is paid to present Points of View and that of the programmes previous presenter Jeremy Vine.

Mr Vine was paid £3,000 per episode between 2008 and April 2018, falling to £1,300 in January 2018 before he left in July 2018..

By way of contrast, Samira Ahmed was paid £440 per programme from 2012. Although this was increased in 2015 to £465 per programme, it was then reduced again when the BBC moved presenters onto employment contracts.

Samira previously secured an agreement from the BBC to full backdated pay with male comparators for her work on Front Row on Radio 4 and Night Waves/Free Thinking on Radio 3.

On Night Waves, Samira’s male comparator was being paid 33 per cent more, while her male comparator on Night Waves was paid 33% more.

Samira Ahmed said: “I love my job on Newswatch despite it being difficult and challenging. I know that it is an important part of demonstrating the BBC service to all its audiences and the licence fee payers.

“I have a sense of pride working for a public service broadcaster which seeks to represent the diversity of Britain and its licence fee payers. I have a sense of pride working for a public service broadcaster that seeks to represent the diversity of Britain and its licence fee payers.

“On the back of my BBC ID card are written the BBC values which include ‘we respect each other and celebrate our diversity’ and ‘we take pride in delivering quality and value for money’.

“I just ask why the BBC thinks I am worth only a sixth of the value of the work of a man for doing a very similar job.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “The scourge of unequal pay has no place in our public service broadcaster and that’s why the NUJ is backing Samira’s case and many others.

“Unfortunately, despite Samira going through a lengthy and frustrating internal process in the hope that a sensible solution could be achieved, the BBC has not resolved this case and it will now be for the tribunal to determine whether this monumental pay gap is appropriate and defensible.

“Samira is to be congratulated for her persistence and determination to secure fair and equal treatment by her employer.”

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