BBC presenter Samira Ahmed was cheered by supporters as she arrived at an employment tribunal yesterday to take on the broadcaster over ‘unequal pay’.
Ms Ahmed, 51, has accused her employer of ‘failure to provide equal pay for equal value work’.
She is asking why she was paid £465 per episode of Newswatch — an audience-led critique of coverage by BBC News — while 54-year-old Jeremy Vine allegedly got up to £3,000 for each Points Of View broadcast.
Ms Ahmed describes the two jobs as ‘comparable’. The BBC disagrees and will argue that the two presenters were not doing similar work.
The journalist, who also presents Radio 4’s Front Row, arrived at the Central London Employment Tribunal building with a large group of supporters, including fellow BBC presenter Naga Munchetty and members of the NUJ. In a statement on Sunday, Ms Ahmed said: ‘I love my job on Newswatch despite it being difficult and challenging.
‘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.’
Ms Ahmed is among women at the BBC to voice their concerns over pay equality following the outcry over former China editor Carrie Gracie’s salary.
She previously said she felt ‘hugely bullied’ over her employment status at the BBC.
In a statement, a BBC spokesman said: ‘The BBC is committed to equal pay. Points Of View is an entertainment programme with a long history and is a household name with the public. Newswatch — while an important programme — isn’t.
‘Samira was paid the same as her male predecessor (Raymond Snoddy) when she began presenting Newswatch. Gender has not been a factor. News and entertainment are very different markets and pay across the media industry reflects this.’
The hearing continues.