BBC could be choked by women suing over equal pay – Libby Purves

2 min

11 shares, 70 points
BBC could be choked by women suing over equal pay – Libby Purves 1

The Radio 4 host, 69, says although the inequality needs to be addressed, she does not think women should seek back pay in cases such as presenter Samira Ahmed’s earlier this month. 

Ahmed, 51, who fronted the BBC’s audience feedback programme Newswatch, had claimed that she was underpaid by £700,000, compared with Jeremy Vine’s £3,000-a-show fee for Points Of View. 

She took the corporation to an employment tribunal, which found in her favour. 

Writing in Radio Times, Libby says: “Samira Ahmed had a right to bring her case against the BBC. Particularly so after recent evidence that, in far more compelling cases, pay had indeed drifted into absurd inequality. 

“Maybe this was due to slapdash management, combined with the less-grasping habits of females. 

“It needed sorting out. As [BBC presenter] Sarah Montague remarked, nobody likes ‘feeling like a sap’.” 

Purves, however, says the employment tribunal’s ruling that Ahmed should have been paid the same as Jeremy “raises an eyebrow”. 

She writes: “The bald fact is that in public entertainment, ocular glintiness always was gold dust. And, admirable as she is, Miss Ahmed has less of it. 

“The real kicker in all this is her claim for £700,000 in back pay, on the principle either that she’s just as glinty as Vine, or that glints don’t matter. It’s a lot of money. 

“There are another 100 women with claims – zeros multiply before the terrified eyes of BBC accountants. 

“Thousands upon thousands of licence fees – programme-making money, news and fun and wisdom money, will go up in smoke. 

“It may be virtuous feminist smoke, but it still chokes creativity.” 

Purves says she was well aware male Radio 4 presenters were paid more than her when she worked on the Today show. 

But her job was “fun and special” and she says she could not be bothered to complain. 

Purves admits her comments will probably irritate many of her colleagues. 

She writes: “There has been injustice towards women. 

“The question, I suppose, is whether it’s enough to draw the line once you’ve had that acknowledged and amended for the future? 

“Or are you so angry with the management and the graspingly glinty blokes who milked it dry that you’ll milk every penny yourself from the poor old worried BBC, and hang the consequences?” 

She adds: “Maybe some of the remaining 100 women still working will make that choice. Meanwhile, it’s the tin hat and the bunker for me.” 

Like it? Share with your friends!

11 shares, 70 points

What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
confused confused
fail fail
fun fun
geeky geeky
love love
lol lol
omg omg
win win

Read exclusive latest news on entertainment, music, gaming and more topics with unprecedented coverage from around the UK and US.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.