Thursday, November 7, 2019

All over

Claire Darwin, barrister for Samira Ahmed in her equal pay case against the BBC, has delivered her closing arguments. She said it was 'telling' that the BBC hadn't called managers directly involved in setting pay for Samira and Jeremy Vine. "Cases are won on their facts... it is extraordinary, madam, that the BBC has deliberately chosen not to call witnesses of fact in relation to the very narrow issue you need to decide".

For the BBC, Julian Milford described this claim as "totally far-fetched"; Roger Leatham, who had negotiated with Vine, was "an impressive witness".

Darwin wouldn't have it. She claimed Leatham had essentially cut and pasted large chunks of Vine's Wikipedia entry into his statement; that some of his evidence was based on speculation; and that, from the witness stand, he admitted he hadn't heard of Ms Ahmed until the tribunal, whilst apparently being ready to opine to the tribunal about her skills and experience.

Meanwhile Samira and the NUJ are fuming about a comparison offered by BBC QC Rachel Crasnow, who's reported as saying the difference between presenting Newswatch and Points of View was like the difference between someone playing piano for a ballet class of ten children and a concert pianist.

Ms Darwin's final submission: "'Fair pay' is the BBC’s construct. It is a legal nonsense. The claimant is here today because she wants equal pay for equal work and I’d invite the ET to uphold her right to it."

The Equal Pay Tribunal of 2019 will be followed by the Equal Pay Judgement of 2020.

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