Presenter Samira Ahmed is taking the BBC to a tribunal after claiming she has been paid less than male colleagues for doing equal work. She is suing the BBC for £693,245 in lost earnings over claims of unequal pay, based on the fact that BBC colleague Jeremy Vine was paid nearly seven times more than her, over a number of years for equivalent on-air work.


The presenter previously secured an agreement with the BBC to receive full backdated pay with her male counterparts for her work on Radio 4’s Front Row and Night Waves on Radio 3, and is looking to do the same with Newswatch. 


Who is Samira Ahmed? 


Samira Ahmed is a British journalist, writer and broadcaster at the BBC, currently being the presenter of Newswatch on BBC One and BBC News and Radio 4’s Front Row. She started her career at the BBC in the 1990s and has gone on to become incredibly successful in her career, winning  Broadcaster of the Year 2009 at the annual Stonewall Awards for her special report on “corrective” rape of lesbian women in South Africa. 


The case 


In October 2012, Ahmed succeeded Ray Snoddy as presenter of Newswatch on the BBC News Channel and has since been working for the corporation. However, an employment tribunal is being conducted to investigate and establish whether Ahmed’s pay on Newswatch should have been comparable with Vine’s on BBC One’s Points of View.


Jeremy Vine is an English presenter, broadcaster and journalist. He used to be the presenter of Points of View where he received £3000 for each episode. Ahmed says she was paid £440 per episode of Newswatch, £693,245 less than Vine over seven years, between November 2012 and February 2019. However, the BBC argues that Points Of View is an entertainment programme, while Newswatch is a news show – requiring different abilities and expertise. However, Ahmed said that Newswatch was now attracting a bigger total audience than Points of View.


She also claims that when she raised salary concerns with management she was told by a senior BBC executive that “the BBC doesn’t do equal pay”. 


What is equal pay? 


Equal pay claims can fall into two categories – a straightforward sex discrimination claim or a claim under The Equality Act 2010. The Samira Ahmed case differentiates to the general gender pay gap, as it covers specific cases where individuals do the same, or equivalent, work and are paid less than their colleagues. 


Where an employee is successful in a claim for equal pay, compensation is in the form of backdated pay and interest for up to six years from the date the claim was lodged.


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