Wednesday, November 6, 2019

More and more

Some new dramatis personae in Samira Ahmed v The BBC today, as the Best Equal Pay Tribunal of 2019 tribunal heads towards a full week, rather than the forecast three days.

The tribunal heard from HR manager Lisa Tsavalos, who said she had discussed where Miss Ahmed’s role should be mapped within the new pay grading system at the BBC with Noelle Britton [Managing Editor, Current Affairs and Daily News Programmes]. She said Miss Ahmed's pay grade was correctly deemed to be that for a lead presenter for a 'news' programme – a category which did not include Points of View.  ‘At no time had I believed that it was going to be mapped to anything other than Lead Presenter.[Band E]’

"I understand that Noelle Britton continued to consider Samira's pay concerns on an informal basis, including her allegation that her pay should be considered in comparison to Jeremy Vine on Points of View and Roger Bolton on Feedback.

"Noelle carefully considered this, but was satisfied these were not appropriate comparators and, in any event, there were non-gender reasons for the difference in pay. The outcome of this informal pay review was to place Samira's pay at the top of the job pay range for lead presenter job.

"As Samira remained unhappy, a very senior BBC manager, Jessica Cecil [former right-hand woman to DG Mark Thompson] undertook a further review of the pay decisions to try to resolve Samira's concerns informally. I understand that Jessica was satisfied from her review that the decisions taken in Samira's cases were appropriate.

'"In relation to Samira's Newswatch complaint, the panel took into account the Newswatch mapping decision and concluded that she had been correctly placed at the top of the pay range for Lead Presenter, Band E. The appeal panel was also satisfied that the role did not fulfil the criteria for band F.[the band where cash registers ring endless joyful peals]. '

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