BBC faces possible legal action over lesser pay for top female journalists

The BBC is facing the possibility of legal action under gender equality legislation if it does not deal with the pay gap between top male and female journalists.

The Equality Act 2010 gives men and women the right to equal pay for equal work.

The disparity prompted Radio 4 PM presenter Eddie Mair to ask director of radio James Purnell yesterday: “Why do on-air people get paid more if they have a penis?”

Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis does not feature on yesterday’s list of those paid more than £150,000 a year by the BBC.

But colleague Evan Davis is paid £250,00 to £299,999 for Newsnight and other presenting duties. Newsnight’s Kirsty Wark is paid £150,000 to £199,999.

Part-timer Maitlis would, reportedly, be in the £150,000+ wage bracket if she presented a larger number of programmes. She is currently said to be in negotiations for a new BBC contract.

Radio 4 Today presenter Sarah Montague is paid less than £150,000 while her colleagues all get more: John Humphrys (£600,000-£649,999) , Nick Robinson (£250,000 to £299,999), Justin Webb (£150,000-£199,999) and Mishal Husain (£200,000 to £249,999).

Louise Minchin is paid less than £150,000 for sitting the BBC Breakfast sofa, whilst colleague Dan Walker is paid £250,000 for that and other presenting duties.

The top paid six people in journalistic roles at the BBC are all men.

BBC News at One presenter Sophie Raworth is paid £150,000-£199,999 – while George Alagiah gets £250,000 to £299,999 for presenting the Six and Huw Edwards £600,000 to £649,999 for the News at Ten.

Radio 4 Woman’s Hour presenters Jane Garvey and Jenni Murray are both paid less than £150,000.

Garvey, 53, was said to be “incandescent with rage” at the gender disparity, the Times reports.

She told The Times that she was in touch with five other female radio presenters and said: “If the BBC thinks we’re not talking to each other, we are . . . Women have learnt a few things and I would argue it’s a good time to start acting on what they’ve learnt.”

The paper reports that she said of Eddie Mair: “Eddie is really good at what he does. But whether he is twice as good . . . as Jenni Murray and I are, or more than twice, I don’t know, because he earns more than twice as much as we do. Of course he is on five days a week, which I’m not.”

COMMENT: Why BBC journalists should have £150k pay cap with the saving used to fund 150 local democracy reporters.

 

 

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