Samira Ahmed wins equal pay claim against the BBC


Re: Samira Ahmed v BBC

Equal work

An employment tribunal held that the work done by Jeremy Vine on Points of View and Samira Ahmed on Newswatch was equal work.

The tribunal held that the work of Samira Ahmed and Jeremy Vine when presenting their respective programmes was ‘like work’ i.e. work that is the same or broadly similar. The tribunal held that the differences between the two programmes were minor differences and had no impact on the work that the two presenters did, or the skills and experience required to present the programmes. In particular, the tribunal held that it could not understand why a requirement for “a glint in the eye” or to be “cheeky” translated into a skill or experience to do a job.

The tribunal also held that having regard to the nature of the activities actually entrusted to the two presenters, the training or skills necessary to do their jobs and the working conditions in which they were carried out, they would also have concluded that the work of Jeremy Vine and Samira Ahmed was of equal value.

BBC’s defence failed

It was for the BBC to prove that the difference in pay (£3,000 and £440) was because of a neutral factor other than the difference in gender.

The BBC relied on various factors including (i) the profile of the two programmes, (ii) the profile of the two presenters, (iii) their broadcasting range and experience, (iv) an alleged difference in market rates and (v) market pressures.

The ET held that the BBC had failed to prove that any of those factors explained the difference in pay at any stage. The ET held that the rates of pay had effectively been set when each presenter had first started presenting their respective programmes, and thereafter the status quo had been maintained and justified.

Accordingly, the claimant’s claim for equal pay with Jeremy Vine between May 2012 and 30 September 2018 succeeded in full.

Claire Darwin was involved in this case.