Saturday, 25 May, 2019

BBC finds 'no evidence of gender bias in pay'

BBC Director General Tony Hall is to appear before a committee over the pay issue BBC Director General Tony Hall is to appear before a committee over the pay issue
Lora Ball | 30 January, 2018, 13:11

Female presenters at BBC who have demanded equal pay as men have faced threats, MPs have been told.

In evidence presented to a Commons select committee, and published on Tuesday morning, BBC Women - a group of 170 women at the BBC who banded together after the broadcaster disclosed its highest-paid presenters past year - has handed over testimonials about what are alleged to be breaches of the country's equal pay law.

A BBC sport editor said she asked four men doing the same job at the broadcaster for their salary details.

Some presenters told the committee that they were offered rises shortly before the BBC published its list of high earners.

He said: "Many people would look at that and say, 'why is it that Gary Lineker is paid many multiples of what Clare Balding is paid?'".

Under the BBC's new pay structure, staff will not be able to learn the exact salary of colleagues but will find out how their pay compares to those who hold the same job.

The pay issue has led to freakish situations on BBC radio and TV, with some people whose own pay packages were part of the debate presenting news programmes covering the topic.

The group included several individual testimonies in its evidence to MPs, including one from former Scotland health correspondent, Eleanor Bradford.

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The evidence that BBC Women have put forward to Parliament includes various testimonials, including one TV news presenter who claimed that she "had been sitting next to a man doing an identical job who was being paid tens of thousands of pounds more..."

Its proposed framework for pay would mean, it said, "substantial pay cuts for some men and increases for some male and female presenters", with some men having already accepted these.

"It is a large group of women at the BBC who feel the BBC does not have an effective policy on equal pay... but not just on pay, on grievances around unfair contracts as well and a concern that the grievance procedure the BBC has in place are not easy to access and people have found it very hard to seek redress", he said.

"Behind the headline, the most important issue of equal pay at the BBC, we believe, is a wider culture of gender discrimination which can be seen in the patterns of promotion, especially after women take maternity leave", the BBC Women statement read.

"I regularly asked for a pay rise, and eventually cited equal pay legislation".

Unions and law firms are leading separate claims on behalf of BBC employees who have grievances over pay.

A BBC spokesperson said it corporation was "not getting into debates at the moment on pay band levels". "Whilst a few big names on high salaries have been the focus of media attention in recent weeks, we are concerned to see evidence suggesting a much deeper cultural problem that exists".

China Editor Carrie Gracie quit this month because she was paid less than her male colleagues.

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