Monday, 24 July 2017

BBC and Equal Pay

Image result for women like men only cheaper + images

The report into top people's pay at the BBC has somehow managed to shock the nation, but in truth was all too predictable because the gender gap at the BBC follows a similar pattern of discrimination to the one A4ES has been fighting against in Scottish local government for many years.   

I suspect there will be much more to follow once equal pay campaigners shine a light on the Beeb's pay arrangements lower down the pay ladder. 

The Sunday Times ran a good piece on the BBC story yesterday and includes a copy of the letter from women presenters to the Beeb's director general, Tony Hall.

Sarah Montague and Emily Maitlis among stars writing to BBC boss Tony Hall

Nicholas Hellen and Tim Shipman - The Sunday Times

BBC director-general Tony Hall has been sent an open letter from female broadcasters demanding that he address the gender pay gap now- GETTY IMAGES

The BBC faces an unprecedented revolt today by 42 of its top female broadcasters with a public demand to tackle the gender pay gap now, rather than wait until 2020.

In an open letter to Tony Hall, the director-general, they urge him to end the sex “discrimination” revealed in its list of on-air stars who earn more than £150,000. Signatories include Sarah Montague, who presents Today on Radio 4, and Emily Maitlis, the host of Newsnight on BBC2, whose absence from the list embarrassed the broadcaster. Household names who signed the open letter, co- ordinated by Jane Garvey, who presents Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, include Clare Balding, Sue Barker, Annabel Croft and Gabby Logan. They are joined by Elaine Paige, the musicals star and Radio 2 presenter, and Angela Rippon, co- presenter of Rip Off Britain.

Other signatories include Emma Barnett, Mishal Husain, Martha Kearney, Louise Minchin, Jenni Murray, Ritula Shah and Kirsty Wark.

They ask Hall to meet them, saying: “You have said that you will ‘sort’ the gender pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years. We all want to go on the record to call upon you to act now.”

They say the BBC must tackle the pay gap across its workforce of more than 19,000. “Beyond the list, there are so many other areas including production, engineering and support services and global, regional and local media where a pay gap has languished for too long.”

Hall replied to the letter today, saying that the BBC is already working to bridge the gender gap. He vowed that next year’s pay figures “will look very different”.

The Sunday Times understands that the prime minister is determined not to let the BBC wriggle off the hook of increased public accountability. A review halfway through the BBC’s 11-year charter in 2021 will be used to ensure that it improves transparency.

Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, is demanding that next year’s release of salaries should go into more detail, breaking them down into much smaller segments than the £50,000 bands used last week. She will also urge the National Audit Office to ensure taxpayers’ money is not wasted on excessive salaries for staff paid by BBC Studios, which is becoming an autonomous company.

Under the current arrangement, next year’s list will not include 34 actors, comedians, factual and entertainment presenters who work for Studios, the BBC’s production arm. This means the pay of Alex Jones, the One Show presenter, Tess Daly, who co-hosts Strictly Come Dancing, Nick Knowles, host of DIY SOS, and Derek Thompson, the Casualty actor, will no longer be revealed. It also means that the BBC will no longer declare the earnings of John Humphrys for Mastermind, Jeremy Vine for Eggheads and Fiona Bruce for Antiques Roadshow. A total of 17 “multi-genre” presenters will be spared from declaring some earnings.

John Whittingdale, who as culture secretary originally pushed for pay disclosure, said the BBC should also reveal the pay of David Dimbleby. He said high salaries for radio presenters “really cause jaws to drop”.

This morning Jeremy Corbyn said: “I think the BBC needs to look very hard at itself.”

The Labour leader called the gender pay gap “appalling”, adding that Labour would insist on gender pay gap audits for all companies and a maximum 20:1 ratio between the highest and lowest paid staff in every public sector organisation. He said he would add his signature to the letter.

Responding to the letter today, Hall said: “Work is already well under way across the organisation to help achieve this. There will be wider consultation meetings over the next two months so we can accelerate further change in the autumn. I would obviously value your contribution and thinking as part of this process. When figures are published next year I am confident they will look very different.”

The corporation said: “BBC Studios will be a fully commercial business and will not be underpinned by public money . . . We are buying programmes from them, not talent. The decision on what’s ultimately paid to the talent and the contractual obligations rests with the independent producers not the BBC.”

Dear Tony Hall

The pay details released in the annual report showed what many of us have suspected for many years . . . that women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work.
Emma Barnett: It’s discriminationBBC

Compared to many women and men, we are very well compensated and fortunate. However, this is an age of equality and the BBC is an organisation that prides itself on its values.

You have said that you will “sort” the gender pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years. We all want to go on the record to call upon you to act now.

Beyond the list there are so many other areas — including production, engineering and support services and global, regional and local media — where a pay gap has languished for too long.

This is an opportunity for those of us with strong and loud voices to use them on behalf of all and for an organisation that had to be pushed into transparency to do the right thing.

We would be willing to meet you to discuss ways in which you can correct this disparity so that future generations of women do not face this kind of discrimination.

Yours sincerely,

Katya Adler, Samira Ahmed, Anita Anand, Wendy Austin, Zeinab Badawi, Clare Balding, Sue Barker, Emma Barnett, Rachel Burden, Annabel Croft, Martine Croxall, Victoria Derbyshire, Lyse Doucet, Jane Garvey, Karin Giannone, Fi Glover, Joanna Gosling, Carrie Gracie, Orla Guerin, Geeta Guru-Murthy, Lucy Hockings, Mishal Husain, Katty Kay, Martha Kearney, Kirsty Lang, Gabby Logan, Kasia Madera, Emily Maitlis, Annita McVeigh, Louise Minchin, Aasmah Mir, Sarah Montague, Jenni Murray, Sally Nugent, Elaine Paige, Carolyn Quinn, Angela Rippon, Ritula Shah, Kate Silverton, Charlotte Smith, Sarah Smith, Kirsty Wark