Samira Ahmed and BBC reach equal-pay settlement

Samira Ahmed arrives at the Central London Employment Tribunal.
Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

Journalist Samira Ahmed has reached an undisclosed financial settlement with the BBC after she won an equal pay case against the broadcaster last month.

Ahmed was seeking almost £700,000 in back pay after an employment tribunal ruled the work she had been doing was comparable to that of presenter Jeremy Vine, who was paid thousands more than her.

She claimed that Vine was paid up to £3,000 an episode for Points of View on BBC One, while Ahmed received £440 per episode of Newswatch on BBC News.

In January, the tribunal unanimously concluded that the BBC had failed to provide convincing evidence that the pay difference could be justified and was for reasons other than discrimination.

The BBC has declined to appeal against the ruling and has now reached a settlement with Ahmed.

A statement released by the BBC and the National Union of Journalists, which supported Ahmed with her case, said: “Samira Ahmed and the BBC are pleased to have reached a settlement following the recent tribunal.

“Samira is a highly valued BBC presenter and now these matters have been concluded we all want to focus on the future. We look forward to continuing to work together to make great programmes for audiences. Neither the BBC, Samira or the NUJ will be commenting further on this case.”

Ahmed has not commented on the settlement, but said after last month’s judgment: “No woman wants to have to take action against their own employer. I love working for the BBC. I’m glad it’s been resolved.”

The BBC argued, among other issues, that the difference in pay was justified as Points of View required its presenter to have a “glint in his eye” and to be “cheeky”, but Judge Grewal said her panel had difficulty understanding how that translated into a skill or experience to do a job.

“How does one acquire such a skill or experience? In any event, the light-hearted tone and any cheekiness were achieved primarily by the script being written in a particular style. The attempts at humour came from the script,” Judge Grewal said in her ruling.

Merrill April, an employment solicitor at CM Murray, commented: “It is unsurprising that Samira Ahmed and the BBC have settled their dispute on a confidential basis.

“Having found that she had been discriminated against, whilst still working at the BBC, in circumstances where they both wish to continue working together, a settlement with the consequent benefit of confidentiality and avoiding the further publicity of a remedies hearing in the tribunal, is the natural way forward for the benefit of both parties.”

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