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Equal pay settlement reached between Samira Ahmed and the BBC

After winning her equal pay case against the BBC, journalist Samira Ahmed has reached an undisclosed settlement with the broadcasting company.

An employment tribunal ruled that the work Ms Ahmed was doing was comparable to that of the work done by presenter Jeremy Vine. Vine was paid thousands of pounds more than Ms Ahmed, who was seeking £700,000 on back pay as settlement.

Ms Ahmed told the tribunal that Vine was paid up to £3,000 for each episode of Points of View, shown on BBC One, while she only received £440 per episode of Newswatch she presented on BBC News.

The tribunal concluded unanimously in January that the BBC had not produced any convincing evidence to show that the pay difference was justified. Neither could the BBC show that the pay difference was not due to discrimination.

At the tribunal the BBC argued that the pay difference was justified because as presenter of Points of View Vine had needed to have a ‘glint in his eye’ and appear to be ‘cheeky.’ Tribunal judge Grewal commented that neither she nor her panel could understand how those points could be translated into a necessary skill requirement for the job.

Judge Grewal asked the BBC how one acquired such skills or experience because the tone of the presentation and any cheekiness came from the script and the way it had been written. Any attempts at humour came from the person who had produced the script.

Employment solicitor at CM Murray Merrill April stated that it was not surprising that Samira Ahmed had settled the pay dispute in a confidential manner.

Realising that she had been discriminated against while working at the BBC, Ms Ahmed sought to solve the dispute in a way which avoided further publicity. Both parties wished to continue working together and a confidential settlement was the natural way forward to achieve this.

The BBC and the National Union of Journalists who supported Ms Ahmed released a statement saying that both Samira Ahmed and the BBC were pleased to announce a settlement after the recent tribunal.

A spokesperson for the BBC said that Ms Ahmed is a highly valued presenter. Now that the issue had been resolved, the BBC wanted to focus on the future. The BBC looks forward to working together with Samira Ahmed to continue making great programmes for the public.

The spokesperson also said that neither the BBC, Samira nor the NUJ would comment any further on the case.

Ms Ahmed declined to comment on the outcome and settlement although she did say after the ruling that ‘no woman wants to take action against her against her employer.’ She loved working for the BBC and was glad that the issue had been resolved.

When asked, the BBC stated that they had declined to appeal against the ruling. They have now reached a final settlement with Ms Ahmed although both parties have refused to reveal the amount.

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