Samira Ahmed takes BBC to court over equal pay

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Samira AhmedImage source, BBC
Image caption,
Ahmed worked for Channel 4 from 2000 to 2011

BBC presenter Samira Ahmed is taking the BBC to an employment tribunal over alleged unequal pay.

According to court listings, Ahmed's case is due to be heard over five days from next Monday.

The papers allege "failure to provide equal pay for equal value work" under the Equality Act 2010.

Ahmed presents Newswatch, which examines BBC editorial decisions, and the Radio 4 arts show Front Row. The BBC has declined to comment.

Ahmed began her career as a BBC News trainee in 1990 and has worked as a news correspondent and a reporter on BBC Radio 4's Today programme and BBC Two's Newsnight.

She covered the OJ Simpson case as the BBC's Los Angeles correspondent and was a presenter and reporter at Channel 4 News from 2000 to 2011.

BBC News has asked Ahmed for a comment on the employment tribunal.

The 51-year-old is not the first woman to take issue at the corporation's pay structure. Carrie Gracie previously resigned from her role as China editor in a dispute over equal pay.

Image caption,
Carrie Gracie resigned from her role as the BBC's China editor

The BBC then apologised for underpaying her and said it "has now put this right" by giving her back pay.

She donated the full, undisclosed amount to the Fawcett Society - a charity that campaigns for gender equality and women's rights.


The issue of gender pay inequality at the BBC came to a head in July 2017, when it was revealed its best-paid star, Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans, made between £2.2m and £2.25m in 2016/2017. During the same period its highest-paid female presenter, Claudia Winkleman, earned between £450,000 and £500,000.

About two-thirds of stars earning more than £150,000 - and all of the top seven earners - were male, the annual report revealed.

Director general Tony Hall said there is "more to do" on gender and diversity and in September 2017 the BBC announced sweeping pay reviews.

Six male BBC presenters, including Huw Edwards, Nicky Campbell and John Humphrys, agreed to pay cuts in January 2018, to help level the playing field.

The BBC's most recent annual review showed an improvement for women, with Winkleman, Zoe Ball and Vanessa Feltz now among the corporation's top earners.

Rights watchdog, The Equality and Human Rights Commission, is investigating the BBC over pay historical gender pay discrimination.

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