‘Veiled threats’ against women over BBC pay

Some BBC managers have issued “veiled threats” against women at the BBC who have raised the subject of equal pay.

A report by 170 BBC women submitted to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee claims there is “still a bunker mentality” regarding transparency of pay between its male and female staff.

It says: “While individual BBC managers have been supportive there is still a bunker mentality in some quarters and women have experienced veiled threats made against them when they raised the subject of equal pay.

“It is interesting to note that following the transparency in the pay of managers earning above £150,000 the incoming female head of news is being paid the same salary as her male predecessor.

“This transparency is now needed across the board.”

The report comes as the BBC proposes a cap on pay for news presenters. The top rate of £320,000 would mean substantial cuts for some of the best-known talent.

The cap has yet to be fully agreed and would only apply to full time on-air staff.

The issue of pay equality came to light last year following the publication of the pay of people earning more than £150,000.

The DCMS committee has said the corporation has a “deeper cultural problem” with gender pay than the list revealed.

Damian Collins, chairman of the Committee, said: “The Equality Act 2010 states that men and women must be paid the same for doing the same work, like work and work of equal value.

“Yet the evidence we are publishing today highlights many cases where the BBC has failed to meet these requirements.”

One case cited by the DMCS committee is that of Scotland health correspondent Eleanor Bradford.

She claimed she left the BBC after nearly 15 years because she was being paid around £10,000 less than male colleagues in similar roles.

The National Union of Journalists has begun grievance procedures with the broadcaster relating to 120 cases.

CARRIE GRACIE

Video: BBC’s China editor Carrie Gracie quits in gender pay row

The BBC women report says matters could be put right by ” admitting the problem, apologising and setting in place an equal, fair and transparent pay structure.

“The BBC should avoid wasting licence fee money on an unwinnable court fight against their female workers over equal pay and immediately agree to independent arbitration to settle individual cases, including back pay and pension adjustments.”

The DCMS committee is due to question the BBC’s director-general Lord Hall on Wednesday.

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A BBC spokeswoman said: “We look forward to an informed debate at the select committee based on all the facts.

“The BBC is committed to equal pay and we don’t accept the assertion we have not been complying with the Equality Act, nor do we offer inferior contracts based on someone’s gender or race.”