Newswatch presenter Samira Ahmed has won a judgement against the BBC after taking them to tribunal in an equal pay dispute.
The telly presenter, 51, claimed she was paid ‘a sixth’ of what fellow host Jeremy Vine earned on Points Of View.
She took the Beeb to tribunal and it was announced today that she’d won a unanimous judgement against the coropration.
The ruling confirmed her role is considered equivalent to the work Vine carried out, stating: “Her work on Newswatch was like Jeremy Vine’s work on Points of View under section 65(1) of the Equality Act 2010.”
The panel added: “The difference in pay in this case was striking. Jeremy Vine was paid more than six times what the claimant was paid for doing the same work.”
In a statement released after the ruling, Ahmed said: “No woman wants to have to take action against their own employer.
“I love working for the BBC. I’m glad it’s been resolved. I’d like to thank my union the NUJ, especially Michelle Stanistreet the general secretary, my legal team Caroline Underhill of Thompsons Solicitors and my barrister Claire Darwin and everyone – all the men and women who’ve supported me and the issue of equal pay.
“I’m now looking forward to continuing to do my job, to report on stories and not being one.”
BBC bosses said they will “consider the judgment carefully”.
They added in a stateemnt: “Samira Ahmed is an excellent journalist and presenter and we regret that this case ever had to go to tribunal.
“We’re committed to equality and equal pay. Where we’ve found equal pay cases in the past we’ve put them right. However, for us, this case was never about one person, but the way different types of programmes across the media industry attract different levels of pay.
“We have always believed that the pay of Samira and Jeremy Vine was not determined by their gender. Presenters – female as well as male – had always been paid more on Points of View than Newswatch.
“We’re sorry the Tribunal didn’t think the BBC provided enough evidence about specific decisions…
“We’ll need to consider this judgment carefully. We know tribunals are never a pleasant experience for anyone involved. We want to work together with Samira to move on in a positive way.”
In conclusion, the judgement affirmed: “We concluded that the Respondent (the BBC) had failed to show that the difference between the Claimant’s pay [Ahmed] and that of Mr Vine between May 2012 and 20 September 2016 was because of any of the factors upon which it replied.
“It had failed to discharge the burden on it under section 69(1) of the Equality Act 2010 and to rebut the presumption of sex discrimination that arose when she proved that her work was like his work and that she was paid less than him.
“In those circumstances, the sex equality clause applies during that period.”
During the tribunal, which ended in November, Ahmed insisted she “could not understand how pay for me, a woman, could be so much lower than Jeremy Vine, a man, for presenting very similar programmes and doing very similar work”.
Vine was paid £3,000 per episode for presenting the BBC One programme between 2008 and 2018, which the corporation’s legal team describes as “extremely well-known”.
In comparison, Ahmed says she was paid £440 per episode for Newswatch – an audience-led critique of BBC News coverage – which airs on what the corporation’s legal team calls “the relatively niche BBC News channel”.
Ahmed could now be set to receive almost £700,000 back in pay.
The BBC previously argued Ahmed’s work is not comparable to Vine’s and that Points Of View is an entertainment programme while Newswatch is a news programme, meaning that each of the shows require different experience and skills.
As the programme is repeated on BBC Breakfast on Saturday, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), which supported Ahmed’s case, claimed Newswatch has an audience reach of between 1.5 and 1.9 million people – more than double that of Points of View.
But the BBC’s legal team claimed it had “no discernible impact” on viewing figures and is used to fill out the programme at the weekend.
When aired on the BBC News channel it receives around 100,000 viewers, according to the broadcaster.
The BBC’s legal team also claimed Ahmed was paid the same as her predecessor Ray Snoddy, who they referred to as her pay comparator, as opposed to Vine.
Vine fronted the long-running factual programme Points Of View until last year.
It has since dropped its presenter-led format, and the 15-minute show is now narrated by Tina Daheley.