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Presenter Samira Ahmed sues BBC for equal pay in landmark tribunal case against the corporation

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BBC’s Newswatch and Front Row presenter Samira Ahmed, 51, sues corporation for equal pay in landmark tribunal case

  • Journalist Samira Ahmed, 51, is taking the BBC to a tribunal over equal pay
  • The BBC is under fire for alleged gender disparity both historic and widespread 
  • This will be first time a case had made it to court and could embarrass the BBC 

One of the BBC’s most well-known female presenters is taking the Corporation to an employment tribunal, claiming she was paid less than male colleagues for doing equivalent work.

The BBC has been beset by accusations of pay disparity but the case being brought by journalist Samira Ahmed, 51, will be the first of several in the pipeline to make it to court.

The tribunal could be a cause of serious embarrassment for the BBC, with a well-known journalist detailing her claims against BBC management.

Court listings seen by the Guardian show that Ahmed’s case is due to be heard over three days from next Monday at an employment tribunal in central London, over an alleged ‘failure to provide equal pay for equal value work’ under the Equal Pay Act.

The News Watch presenter, 51, is taking the Corporation to a tribunal alleging 'failure to provide equal pay for equal value work' under the Equal Pay Act

The News Watch presenter, 51, is taking the Corporation to a tribunal alleging ‘failure to provide equal pay for equal value work’ under the Equal Pay Act

Ms Ahmed presents Newswatch on BBC One, which holds the BBC to acocunt for its editorial decisions, as well as regualrly appearing on BBC News and Radio 4’s arts programme Front Row.

She publicly threw her hat into the ring for the job – ultimately given to Fiona Bruce – presenting Question Time following David Dimbleby’s retirement.

Ms Ahmed wrote on Twitter: ‘I have 2 awards for journalism, 28 years in the broadcast news biz, including 11 at C4 News, currently presenting News Watch BBC& BBC Front Row & an honorary fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford. 

‘I’m v well qualified to present BBC Question Time & I’d like to be seriously considered.’

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After years at Channel 4 Samira Ahmed started at the BBC in the 1990s and has become a well-recognised face and voice on the BBC.

Former and present female BBC television and radio presenters including Kate Silverton, (C-L), Kate Adie (C-R) and Samira Ahmed (in green) at Portcullis House as the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee heard evidence from former BBC China Editor Carrie Gracie and BBC Director General Tony Hall in relation to pay inequality

Former and present female BBC television and radio presenters including Kate Silverton, (C-L), Kate Adie (C-R) and Samira Ahmed (in green) at Portcullis House as the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee heard evidence from former BBC China Editor Carrie Gracie and BBC Director General Tony Hall in relation to pay inequality

The tribunal comes at a turbluent time for the BBC, which has faced a growing number of equal pay cases since the corporation was forced to start publishing the salaries of high-earning on-air presenters and reporters in 2017. 

The revelation of wide disparities between prominent journalists sparked outrage and saw the BBC pleading with male journalists to cut their salaries while female staff saw wages bumped up.

Carrie Gracie, a former China editor, left the corporation after discovering she was paid less than other unternational editors. She won an apology and a payout from the corporation.

The corporation is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission over claims of historical pay inequality at the organisation between male and female staff.

The paper reported Ms Ahmed referred a request for comment to her lawyers, who declined to add further detail. The BBC declined to comment on the case.

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