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29th October 2019

BBC faces flood of equal pay cases as Samira Ahmed tribunal begins

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Samira Ahmed is a British journalist, writer and broadcaster at the BBC. She is part of the female member of staff - after a dozen legal cases- who believes she was illegally paid less than their male counterparts. Last Monday, she arrives with a dozens of well-wishers to the central London employment tribunal and denounced the BBC for that.

The BBC’s former China editor who resigned last year over equal pay, told reporters at the tribunal hearing that Ahmed is only the first of many cases in the pipeline: “Women want equality, they want their work respected. They don’t want their work to be undervalued. It affects everything about their lives, it’s not just about finances which are important… it is also about self-respect and about progression as well as pay”. She also adds that women such as Ahmed who are fighting for their rights were willing to risk damage their career in order to see “equality honoured” after complaining with the BBC’s internal pay review.

The BBC has already accepted that Ahmed was underpaid by between 50% and 33% compared to male colleagues. However, they are resisting Ahmed’s claim that was unfairly paid for her work presenting Newswatch, for which she received £440 an episode. She claims this is unfair because at the same time Jeremy Vine was paid £3000 for presenting each episode of Point of Views, a similar programme.

On which a BBC spokesperson answered to that: “(…) Gender has not been a factor in levels of pay for Point of View. News and entertainment are very different markets and pay across the media industry reflects this.”