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BBC on-air report denounced by NUJ analysis as a PR exercise

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31 January 2018

The PwC report commissioned by the BBC to review the pay of on-air staff has been described as "a PR exercise and not a genuine inquiry into fairness and equality of pay" by a legal analysis carried out for the National Union of Journalists.

The analysis notes that the BBC, by its own admission, would find it difficult to defend any claims for equal pay brought by complainants in a court or tribunal because it would struggle to explain why decisions were made in determining the pay of the on-air presenters and journalists. This is because of the lack of transparency and clarity about the basis for making pay decisions, or in other words no one knows why some men are being paid more than some women.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“The conclusion of our legal analysis of the latest PwC report is that it is a PR exercise, and not a genuine inquiry into fairness and equality of pay for on air talent. If it was a genuine inquiry, or a genuine equal pay audit, then the on-air review (OAR) would have included data on the average basic pay and total average pay for women and men in each equal work group, as most published equal pay audits do. Instead, the OAR only gives the median and mean percentage gender pay gap, which prevents female NUJ members from using the OAR to make meaningful comparisons with their own remuneration."

“It’s time for the BBC to hold its hands up and admit that it has got things badly wrong on pay in the past. As well as engaging with staff to come up with a career framework that is fit for purpose in the future, the BBC urgently needs to sit down and come to a pragmatic settlement with women who have been denied pay and pension contributions they are entitled to over many years. If they don’t do that, legal action to ensure NUJ members recoup those losses is inevitable.”

Tags: , bbc, pay, equal pay, equality, women, on-air review, pwc