Friday 10 January 2020 1:42 pm

Samira Ahmed claims victory in BBC equal pay tribunal

Samira Ahmed has won an equal pay employment tribunal against the BBC.

The TV presenter claimed she was underpaid for hosting Newswatch in comparison with the salary Jeremy Vine commanded for his similarly-structured audience feedback programme, Points of View.

Read more: Samira Ahmed v BBC: The court case over a 600 per cent pay gap

“It is clear… that the work that the claimant and Jeremy Vine did in presenting their respective programmes was the same or, if not the same, very similar,” the judgement released today read.

Ahmed said in a recent hearing that the BBC owed her almost £700,000 in back pay over the sex discrimination case.

The BBC had said the two presenters fulfilled “very different roles”.

Vine earned £3,000 per episode for his BBC One show between 2008 and 2018. Ahmed earned just £440 per episode of Newswatch, which aired on BBC News and BBC Breakfast.

The BBC had argued that there was a big difference between Points of View, an entertainment show, and Newswatch, a news programme.

However, the tribunal sided with Ahmed’s argument.

“Having regard to the nature of the activities actually entrusted to them, the training or skills necessary to do the job and the working conditions in which they were carried out, we would, on the basis of the findings of fact we have made, have concluded that their work was of equal value,” judges Grewal, Godecharle and Secher found.

But the tribunal rejected the BBC’s argument that Points of View needed a different skill set to present, such as a “certain glint in the eye”.

“We had difficulty in understanding what the respondent meant by a ‘glint in the eye’ and how that translated into a ‘skill’,” the tribunal found.

“The attempts at humour came from the script. Jeremy Vine read the script from the autocue. If it told him to roll his eyes, he did.”

Read more: DEBATE: Is it time to review the BBC’s TV licence?

“The difference in pay in this case is striking. Jeremy Vine was paid six times what the claimant was paid for doing the same work as her.”

Ahmed had told the tribunal last year that 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”.