MPs slam BBC for not acknowledging pay discrimination problem
The BBC is facing fresh criticism over pay equality after the government slammed the broadcaster’s response to its report published in October.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) today blasted the BBC for not acknowledging the problem of equal pay within the organisation.
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“We are very disappointed that the BBC has failed to acknowledge that a pay discrimination problem exists within the corporation,” the report read.
The fresh criticism comes after the DCMS published a scathing report in October stating the broadcaster had failed in its duty to provide equal pay for staff.
In response, the BBC accepted there were “individual issues” of equal pay in the past, but said it had new systems in place to prevent this happening in the future.
But MPs have hit back at the organisation, saying its response was “weak” and failed to acknowledge structural pay discrepancies based on gender.
They also criticised the BBC’s failure to use the term ‘unequal pay’, saying the response used euphemisms to avoid legal issues over pay discrimination.
“We are aware of ongoing concerns among female staff at the BBC,” it said. “We believe that, had we not decided to undertake our inquiry, internal BBC action may not have been initiated in the same way.”
The issue of equal pay within the BBC emerged last year after China editor Carrie Gracie resigned in protest at alleged pay discrimination.
Female members of staff set up a group called BBC Women in the wake of the scandal to lobby for reform of staff remuneration.
“We’re grateful for the support of MPs on the DCMS committee – they obviously share our frustration,” BBC Women told Press Association.
“As long as the corporation refuses to admit it has a pay discrimination problem, and won’t use the term ‘unequal pay’, then things are hardly likely to improve. It’s disheartening and disrespectful.”
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Damian Collins, chair of the DCMS committee, said: “We’re aware of ongoing concerns among female staff at the BBC and will continue to monitor the situation on pay discrimination.
“We stand by the conclusion of our inquiry; that our evidence suggests that some women at the BBC who work in comparable jobs to men are earning far less.”