Samira Ahmed wins BBC equal pay tribunal

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PA Media

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Ahmed (right) was accompanied by BBC Breakfast’s Naga Munchetty on the tribunal’s first day

Presenter Samira Ahmed has won the employment tribunal she brought against the BBC in a dispute over equal pay.

Ahmed claimed she was underpaid for hosting audience feedback show Newswatch when compared with Jeremy Vine’s salary for Points of View.

The judgment said “her work on Newswatch was like Jeremy Vine’s work on Points of View under section 65(1) of the Equality Act 2010.”

She told the recent hearing that she was owed almost £700,000 in back pay.

But the BBC said the two performed “very different roles”.

The tribunal ended in early November, and the judgment has just come out.

Ahmed had told the tribunal 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”.

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Samira Ahmed in the Newswatch studio in 2012

Vine got £3,000 per episode for BBC One’s Points of View between 2008 and 2018. Ahmed was paid less than one sixth of that – £440 – for Newswatch, which is shown on the BBC News Channel and BBC Breakfast.

Ahmed argued that she had more input into the stories and scripts on her show than Vine did in his, and her work required more preparation time.

But the BBC said there was a big difference between news programmes like Newswatch and entertainment shows like Points of View.

They also argued that Vine was better-known, citing audience research carried out in 2017 that found 71% people recognised him, compared with 29% for Ahmed.

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Jeremy Vine hosted Points of View for a decade until 2018

The BBC’s legal team said Ahmed was paid the same as her Newswatch predecessor Ray Snoddy, who they said was her pay comparator, rather than Vine.

But Ahmed’s closing submissions criticised the corporation’s witnesses and evidence.

She also said BBC witnesses were prepared to give evidence “about matters that they had little knowledge of” and that the corporation had “repeatedly sought to make other unfair comments” about her credibility.

Ahmed also co-hosts BBC Radio 4 arts show Front Row.

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