A tribunal found that the work of Samira Ahmed and Jeremy Vine were “like work”
The NUJ and Thompsons Solicitors have welcomed the findings of the London Central Employment Tribunal, which decided that the work of BBC presenter Samira Ahmed was equal to that of colleague Jeremy Vine – meaning the significant discrepancies in their pay is unfair.
The judgment noted that the presenting work of Samira Ahmed on Newswatch was the same, or broadly similar, as that of Jeremy Vine on Points of View. Despite this, Jeremy Vine was paid more than six times as much as Samira Ahmed.
While the BBC claimed that the discrepancy was fair on the basis that Jeremy Vine’s presenting of the show relied on his ability to be “cheeky” and have a “glint in his eye”, the Tribunal argued that such abilities are hard to translate into a ‘skill’ and the humour within his show was due to the script.
Further criticisms were levelled at BBC, with the judgment noted that it appears to not “have a transparent and consistent process for evaluating and determining pay for its on-air talent”.
NUJ member Samira Ahmed said: “I’d like to thank the tribunal judge and panel for the time and work they’ve put into considering my case. I’d also like to thank my union the NUJ, my lawyers and the many people who have supported my case for equal pay for like work and work of equal value.
“Men and women are in this together. We all want equality and fair treatment. I sought to resolve this matter quietly and internally. It was only ever about being valued for my professionalism and to be paid fairly and equally for my work as a journalist and interviewer. This is a job I’m proud to do well and I now looking forward to continuing to report on stories and not being one.”
Caroline Underhill of Thompsons Solicitors added: “This important decision is a warning shot to the BBC that complacency around pay inequity is unacceptable, and will not go unchallenged. The ball is now in the BBC’s court: they need to heed the lessons from this judgment and engage in meaningful negotiations with the NUJ to ensure genuine pay transparency, and pay equality, for all employees.”
Samira Ahmed’s legal team were Natasha Morris, Legal Officer at the NUJ, Caroline Underhill, Thompsons Solicitors and Claire Darwin, barrister from Matrix Chambers.