Samira’s BBC tribunal comes to a close

Samira Ahmed  (Photo by Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images)
Samira Ahmed (Photo by Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images)

AN equal pay tribunal brought against the BBC by journalist Samira Ahmed ended on Thursday (7).

Ahmed claimed she was paid much lesser than her male colleague Jeremy Vine for doing similar work. While Vine got £3,000 per episode of  Points of View between 2008 and 2018, Ahmed received £440 for Newswatch.

Ahmed is seeking almost £700,000 in back pay.

The tribunal lasted for nearly two weeks and Ahmed said 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”.

She also said that her work requires more preparation time. “It is likely that Jeremy Vine spends less time in make-up than I do,” she said. “Women are more likely to be criticised for their appearance on air.”

But the BBC argues that the two performed “very different roles.”

“There is a clear distinction between the two shows, and their genres, which is reflected in their broadcasting slot and their audience,” the BBC’s director of strategy Gautam Rangarajan was quoted as saying.

In closing submissions, the BBC on Wednesday said that Ahmed has an over-inflated sense of her own importance.

The BBC said that her evidence to the tribunal was notable because “she had a strong conviction that the BBC should have treated her as a special case, whether because of what she regarded as the uniqueness of her programme, or her skills, or both.

“Without detracting in any way from her expertise, she is one of many talented news journalists in the BBC… her evidence on the importance of Newswatch and of her role on the programme was overstated.”