BBC presenter Samira Ahmed said yesterday (31) that she was sorry for dragging her colleague Jeremy Vine into her equal pay battle.
Ahmed is suing the BBC for equal pay citing the fact that she was paid a sixth of what Vine earned even though they did similar work.
While Vine was paid £3,000 per episode for presenting Points of View programme between 2008 and 2018, Ahmed was paid £440 per episode for Newswatch.
Giving evidence, Ahmed said she was “grateful” to Vine as a colleague and that her issue was with the BBC.
She said she had raised the issue of pay verbally before October 2017, when her first email to BBC bosses argued that Vine was her pay comparator.
“I was in contact with Jeremy and I messaged him around this time,” she told the tribunal.
“I told him I had an equal pay issue and I know under law you can ask a colleague (their salary) if there’s an issue about pay.
“He did not get back to me for seven months. We had a phone conversation and he explained it was very awkward because the salary negotiation was going on when I contacted him.
“He said he was aware there was a connection.”
When asked why her personal chat with Vine was not included in her written witness statement, Ahmed said she was hoping the issue wouldn’t have to go to tribunal.
“My issue is with the BBC, not with Jeremy Vine,” she added. “I’m incredibly grateful to him as a colleague. I don’t want it to be about him and I’m sorry his name has been dragged into this.”
The BBC has justified Vine’s higher salary saying Points of View is “entertainment” and news jobs receive lower pay.
A BBC spokesman said: “Samira was paid the same as her male predecessor when she began presenting Newswatch.
“Gender has not been a factor in levels of pay for Points of View. News and entertainment are very different markets and pay across the media industry reflects this.”
The case continues.