Published: Sat, February 03, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

BBC executives front parliamentary committee over pay disparity

BBC executives front parliamentary committee over pay disparity

The BBC's journalism can not be trusted unless it is truthful about its gender pay gap, the corporation's former China editor Carrie Gracie has said.

The BBC is stumbling towards a "Greek tragedy" over its lies about the corporation's gender pay gap, according to Carrie Gracie, who told MPs the atmosphere at the broadcasting house has become "toxic".

The report led to China Editor Carrie Gracie resigning in protest upon which she called out the "secretive and illegal pay culture", which she detailed in an open letter published in the Times.

Meanwhile, a group of 170 women who work for the BBC demanded an apology, as well as back pay and pension adjustments in compensation.

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Disclosing the pay discrepancies marks an "important new beginning at the BBC", but it also "highlights a situation which really can be said to exist in many different places", said Alice Enders, research director at Enders Analysis, a London-based media research firm.

Hall also said the BBC would be making its pay policies more transparent and structured.

An audit of on-air pay by PricewaterhouseCoopers, commissioned by the BBC, concluded that there was "no gender bias" at the Corporation.

Gracie said: "The BBC was very concerned in the aftermath to put more senior women and older women on-air".

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In a two-hour hearing, Gracie also said Unsworth's predecessor as BBC News director James Harding had also been not telling the truth in public late a year ago.

Gracie told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee that she had insisted on equal pay before taking on the China job but that the corporation never honoured promises given to her. But he said there was "a difference between the scale and scope" of jobs that meant salaries varied. "This report has reached the conclusion the BBC wanted it to reach", said Jane Garvey, one of the broadcaster's leading presenters. "But I would say as the senior woman in BBC News. I knew as did many other women in the BBC that we had been underpaid by comparison to male peers".

The North America role was then given to Jon Sopel, however, who already earned £200,000-£249,999 ($285,120-$356,400) and remained on that salary. "That is why we need to be and want to be an exemplar on gender pay, and equal pay".

Hall claimed there had been no intentional gender discrimination at the BBC and apologised to Gracie for the way it had handled her concerns. "I was very upset in when a former member of staff told me that the current director of news [Fran Unsworth] had given the impression that I was part-time", she added.

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