BBC host sues network over unequal pay

BBC host sues network over unequal pay
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BBC presenter Samira Ahmed has sued the broadcaster over allegations it paid a male presenter more than six times as much as her for comparable duties, according to The New York Times.

Ahmed has been paid no more than £465 ($599) per episode for a 15-minute program for the broadcaster, while her colleague Jeremy Vine made £3,000 per episode for a similar program during much of the same period, according to the Times. Ahmed’s show, “Newswatch,” draws more viewers, about 1.5 million to 2 million to Vine’s approximate 800,000, according to the newspaper.

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Ahmed sued the BBC on Monday over the inequality, with her lawsuit coming shortly after the broadcaster apologized to another senior journalist over disparities in pay.

“On the back of my BBC I.D. 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,’” Ahmed said in a statement published by the National Union of Journalists.

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

The BBC denied gender was a factor in the pay disparity in a statement to the newspaper, saying Vine’s show is “an entertainment program with a long history and is a household name with the public … Newswatch — while an important program — isn’t.” The broadcaster claimed Ahmed’s male predecessor was paid a comparable amount.

Vine, meanwhile, has said he accepted a pay cut to £1,300 after learning of the pay disparity last year.

Michelle Stanistreet, the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said Ahmed had already gone through the proper management channels before filing the lawsuit.

“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,” Stanistreet said, according to the Times.