Monday, January 8, 2018

What A Carrie On

A classic edition of Today this morning, co-presented by John Humphrys and The Woman Who Was The Third Headline Story.

The timing of all this is interesting. Carrie Gracie says she's stepped down from her role as China Editor, after first being denied equal pay with other international Editors, and then disputing, through the BBC's legendary and arcane grievance procedures, the offer of a rise which she deemed 'unequal'. She's got fed up with waiting, and seems to have demoted herself back to London-based presenter in the BBC Newsroom.

The BBC mandarins have been wrong-footed - the news broke last night, ahead of Carrie's prime time presentation shift - but spookily, Carrie had a website ready to go, designed by Ridders&Co, complete with her letter to the BBC Audience, and a full catalogue with links to her key films and radio reports over the past four years. The Times made the story a front page lead.

Meanwhile, Carrie soldiered on with her presentation. One job was listening to BBC North America Editor, Jon Sopel, in an interview probably recorded at midnight East Coast time with John Humphrys. Jon is paid over £200,000. Washington hours means live broadcasting for the Six and Ten O'Clock bulletins almost within office hours from a bureau of 80 odd staff. In the past year, he's found time to write and personally promote a BBC book, If Only They Didn't Speak English: Notes From Trump's America.

One of Carrie's problems is that BBC managers, including Fran Unsworth, are reported to have described her role as 'part-time'. It may be that she agreed longer than usual periods of working from London, to help with teenage children back home in south-west London. But clearly, BBC HR have failed to convince Carrie, on less than £150k, of the appropriateness of Sopel differential.

Entertainingly, the Today team booked Mariella Frostrup as a surrogate for Carrie, in order to cover the story.

Carrie will be interviewed on Woman's Hour this morning, where we might get more clarity.

Meanwhile, Lord Hall will be asking for a progress report from HR supremo Valerie Hughes D'Aeth, on the 120 active cases on pay being backed by the NUJ, and another 80 (at least) who are making their own cases. Old school HR may try the argument that Carrie has effectively sacked herself - but she's won the PR battle and looks as safe as houses. If others take the Carrie route, Val's got trouble - and the first brave person who asks for back pay (could it be Sarah Montague ?) through the courts will alarm the BBC's top-paid staff member, Anne Bulford.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Other people who read this.......