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Delayed action on inequality at BBC “dereliction of duty”

© Mark Thomas

20 July 2017

The National Union of Journalists has called for immediate action by the BBC to tackle what the union describes as “systemic inequality throughout the organisation”.

The union warned that the focus on the pay of leading presenters, whose salaries were released yesterday, obscured wider problems of inequality and lack of diversity at every level.

Séamus Dooley, acting general secretary said:

“The gender pay gap highlighted yesterday is reflected throughout the organisation.  What we have not heard from the procession of highly remunerated executives sent out to explain the indefensible reward system is a coherent and transparent plan to address the systemic inequality throughout the organisation.There is an onus on management at the highest levels to priority a blueprint to tackle inequalities and discrimination in pay, in grading, in promotional opportunities and recruitment. The trade unions representing workers at the BBC demand action on equality and diversity not soundbites.
“We look forward to seeing their plans in the near future and do not accept the timescale currently mooted by management. The mantra “make us equal but not yet” will not wash and represents a dereliction of duty. The onus rests with the BBC to address this problem but Ofcom must also display a more vigorous approach, especially to the issue of diversity and minority representation.”

Natasha Morris, NUJ legal and equality officer, said:

"If the people who are doing the hiring and the commissioning continue to be predominantly Oxbridge, white males, there is little hope that the aim of having a representative workforce at the BBC on-screen and off-screen will be achieved.Those in charge of production and editorial control should be nurturing off-screen talent to drive diversity forward. Change must start at the top: the BBC board has 10 men and three women; all of them white."

Ofcom, as the corporation's new regulator, must monitor diversity among staff behind the camera and microphone and not just those on-screen and air. Ofcom has said it plans to monitor only on-screen staff for diversity. Off-screen diversity is as important as on-screen diversity. Ofcom must require the BBC to produce diversity data on all staff and freelances providing programming and services across all platforms.

Tags: , bbc, equality, pay, diversity, equality bill, broadcasting, executive pay, ofcom