NUJ responds to BBC annual report following a tumultuous year
© Mark Thomas
11 July 2018
The NUJ has responded to the publication of the BBC's annual report, following a "tumultuous year which has been incredibly stressful and demoralising for many women engaged in the push for equal pay and real culture change at the corporation". The union also raises concerns that further job cuts and redundancies are looming as the corporation faces financial constraints, created in part by its disastrous deal to pay for free TV licences for over-75s, which could cost a fifth of its licence-fee revenue.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"The BBC’s annual report clearly demonstrates the huge breadth of work journalists and programme makers continue to do at the corporation, serving up high-quality news, current affairs and entertainment despite the constrained financial resources and pressure on workloads. With further redundancies in the News division looming, the NUJ remains hugely concerned that continued cuts will severely impact the ability of our members to do their jobs to the same high standards.
"Since last year’s pay disclosures lifted the lid on pay inequity at the BBC, the NUJ has worked hard to get to grips with the scale of the problem, negotiating to implement clearer salary structures that are consistently applied and transparent at the same time as representing members in equal pay complaints. Much progress has been made in recent months, but there remains much work to be done; not least on the outstanding equal pay cases for the NUJ members we are representing at the BBC. While a growing number have been resolved, and we’ve seen significant pay increases and back-pay for some members, many more are outstanding. The length of time cases are taking to resolve is a cause for concern and we continue to push for speedy and comprehensive settlements to these complaints.
"It is disappointing that, in the detailed presentation of the pay disclosures of individuals this year, the BBC failed to take the opportunity to reflect the significant changes and pay adjustments that have taken place in recent months – including increases for women and some pay cuts for individuals earning way above new salary thresholds. That is a missed opportunity to transparently demonstrate to staff and licence-fee payers that action has been taken as part of ongoing work to stamp out pay inequality at our public service broadcaster. That the male to female split in the BBC’s highest earning presenters in 2018/19 will be 60:40, rather than last year’s 75:25 shows that progress has been made, but clearly further action is needed.
"After a tumultuous year which has been incredibly stressful and demoralising for many women engaged in the push for equal pay and real culture change at the corporation, it’s vital that the BBC takes every opportunity to demonstrate and prove that it is changing and listening, and that it is committed to rebuilding trust and morale.
"Progress on closing the gender pay gap is welcome news – with the median gap dropping to 7.6 per cent from 9.3 per cent. Closing it by 2020 is possible if the BBC follows through on the range of recommendations and commitments it has made following the recent reviews. Given the scale of the problems in the rest of the media industry, the NUJ wants other broadcasters and publishers to adopt similarly practical and robust action plans to close their gaping gender pay gaps."