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Wednesday 1 January 2020

BBC Secretly Buying Off Women to Avoid Unfair Pay Tribunals

The BBC stands accused of trying to buy off women it fears will take legal action over gender pay inequality.

Presenter Samira Ahmed is currently taking legal action against the BBC over an alleged breach of equal pay legislation.

Ahmed's lawyers argue that the fee she receives for fronting Newswatch, rumoured to be less than £500 per programme, is dwarfed by the amount Jeremy Vine received for each Points Of View programme, rumoured to be in the region of £3,000.

Her case is currently before the Employment Tribunal and she is seeking £693,000 in back pay. The Tribunal is considering its decision, which is expected within the next few weeks.

According to well placed insiders, the BBC is shitting itself at the prospect of Ahmed's claim being successful, thereby opening the floodgates to dozens of similar cases.

To mitigate the risk of further Employment Tribunal embarrassment, BBC bosses have been surreptitiously trying to buy off those female employees likely to make back pay claims of their own.

Speaking to the Guardian, a BBC source said: "They've spent a huge amount of money telling women they don't have a claim - but now they're approaching women as they head to tribunal and offering to make it go away."

At the start of November, we reported that a letter was leaked bearing the names of 120 female BBC employees dissatisfied at perceived gender inequalities in pay. The list featured high profile names including BBC Breakfast presenters Louise Minchin and Naga Munchetty, BBC News presenter Joanna Gosling and BBC Radio 4 presenter Sarah Montague.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "The BBC has undertaken significant changes to pay and grading over recent years. It is in this context that there have been a large number of pay queries.

"The majority of these are addressed through our internal processes and do not result in any changes to individuals' pay. A tiny percentage end up in dispute or tribunal.

"Our approach to these cases has not changed. We continue to try to engage with our staff to resolve disputes where it is possible and appropriate. However, mindful of our obligations to the licence fee payer, we will robustly defend our position at tribunal if necessary."

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