British presenter and journalist Samira Ahmed has won a high-profile equal pay case against the BBC.
Ahmed took the pubcaster to an employment tribunal claiming she was underpaid compared to a male colleague, Jeremy Vine, for presenting a similar program. Both presenters fronted viewer feedback shows. The BBC unsuccessfully argued Ahmed was not making a like-for-like comparison.
Ahmed was paid less than £500 ($653) per episode for her work on “Newswatch” while Vine received about £3,000 ($3,918) an episode for fronting “Points of View.”
“Samira Ahmed is an excellent journalist and presenter and we regret that this case ever had to go to Tribunal,” a BBC spokesman said. “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.’”
The broadcaster added it will now consider the tribunal judgement and added that “we want to work together with Samira to move on in a positive way.”
Ahmed said she was glad the case had been resolved. “No woman wants to have to take action against their own employer,” she added.
The case is embarrassing for the license fee funded BBC, which has faced criticism for a gender pay gap in its ranks, and for paying its top male on-air talent more than their female counterparts. Its highest-earning stars are still men, the latest data shows. It has also previously settled a gender pay dispute with another of its top journalists, Carrie Gracie.