BBC Women say on-air pay review lacked 'transparency' and only mentions 'equal pay' once

A group of more than 100 BBC women has accused the corporation of a lack of transparency over an audit of on-air talent published today.

The pay review, carried out by PWC, found a 6.9 per cent gender pay gap among on-air staff, but said there was “no evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making”.

The list of staff only includes salaries which are funded by the licence fee and does not include staff contracts with outsourced production companies.

BBC Women, which is made up of 170 broadcasters and presenters, said in a statement: “[The review] has been focused on news and news-related areas, therefore excluding some high earners. There has been no transparency on which individuals were included, or why.

“The BBC has chosen who to compare with whom and what factors justify any gaps in pay. The only mention of equal pay in the letter of engagement with PWC refers to an ‘assessment of equal pay risks’.”

The BBC has said in response to the report that it will be implementing a five-point plan “to help create a fairer and more equal BBC”.

Measures include making “substantial pay cuts” to salaries for some men and creating a new on-air pay framework.

BBC Women said it hoped the commitment from BBC director general Tony Hall (pictured) “to put equality at the heart of what the BBC stands for”  would bring about “swift and meaningful change for women in all roles”.

Carrie Gracie, who resigned from her post as China editor earlier this month over equal pay, and Lord Hall will face questions from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on Wednesday.

In evidence submitted to the committee ahead of the hearing, BBC Women  said there was a“bunker mentality” when it came to equal pay and that women had received “veiled threats” when raising the subject.

The group said: “We believe the BBC can put these matters right by admitting the problem, apologising and setting in place an equal, fair and transparent pay structure.

“The BBC should avoid wasting licence fee money on an unwinnable court fight against their female workers over equal pay and immediately agree to independent arbitration to settle individual cases, including back pay and pension adjustments.

“Above all the pay structure at the BBC – for all women and men – should in future be set at a realistic level for a public service broadcaster and made transparent for all staff and freelancers as well as management.”

The BBC is als ounderstood to be proposing a pay cap of £320,000 for its news presenters in response to the outcry over gender pay equality.

Picture: BBC

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