British human rights commission gets involved — BBC pay gap

BBC                   Carrie Gracie'For far too long a secretive and illegal BBC pay culture has inflicted dishonourable choices on those who enforce

Given her fearless and determined reporting, providing viewers and listeners with unbelievable and unparalleled insights into China over the past four years, it's no surprise that NUJ member Carrie Gracie is not prepared to stay silent about the injustice wrought upon her by her own employer.

Carrie Gracie has resigned as the broadcaster's China editor.

Gracie, who speaks fluent Mandarin, was one of four global editors at the BBC: two men and two women. She rejected the rise and insisted that all four of the BBC's global editors should receive equal pay.

'In thirty years at the BBC, I have never sought to make myself the story and never publicly criticized the organization I love.

"I believe in public service broadcasting and I do think salaries at the top are unacceptably high", she added. She also said that she would return to the television newsroom in London "where I expect to be paid equally".

On pay, the BBC is not living up to its stated values of trust, honesty and accountability. These revelations damaged the trust of BBC staff.

Look at sports. Women are constantly paid less than men, even if they are playing the same sport for the same amount of time. Introduced by Obama, it was deemed unpopular with those that have lobbied for better policies around equal pay.

I am a China specialist, fluent in Mandarin and with almost three decades of reporting the story.

I knew the job would demand sacrifices and resilience.

It called for urgent changes to the BBC's culture, which she said routinely led women to be paid less than their male colleagues.

In the past four years, the BBC has had four worldwide editors - two men and two women.

Both were among 40 high-profile women who wrote to director-general Tony Hall last summer urging him to end the sex "discrimination" revealed in a list of stars' salaries.

The case could quickly become a reputational issue for the BBC if more women do resign over the matter, Women's Hour presenter Jane Garvey told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I fear that there might be more situations like the one we're in".

"And the other thing I'd like to say is that what is lovely for me is that people are mentioning my China work, because I would not wish to be remembered forever as the woman who complained about money". "I didn't feel it was a solution".

'I don't think the idea that there should be equal pay for the same work makes sense in showbiz.

Jeff Overs via Getty Images                   Carrie Gracie with BBC News colleague Simon Mc Coy in 2008
Jeff Overs via Getty Images Carrie Gracie with BBC News colleague Simon Mc Coy in 2008

Why were you willing to offer a pay raise to Gracie, yet still refuse to give her equal pay? She said: "My pay is £135,000".

The journalist said she turned down the rise and was subject to a "dismayingly incompetent and undermining grievance process which still has no outcome" before deciding "enough is enough". I can not do it justice while battling my bosses and a byzantine complaints process.

After learning the truth via the publication of the salaries, Gracie said she told her bosses the "only acceptable resolution would be for all the global editors to be paid the same amount".

"In the past four years, the BBC has had four global editors - two men and two women. Taking into account disadvantageous contracts and pension entitlements, it is a gulf that will last a lifetime".

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average earnings of all women in an organisation compared to the average earnings of all the men. By April, companies with over 250 employees will have to publish any differences in gender pay (men and women who do the same job but are paid differently) or face an interview with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.

'When it comes to other companies (like EasyJet) the issue is often not pay discrimination, but the fact that women cluster in different and lower paid jobs. We can't be as complacent as a society with the gender pay gap.

A BBC spokesman said: "Fairness in pay is vital". But this was not a full audit. The gap increases with age when women marry and begin having children. The BBC has now begun a "talent review" but the women affected have no confidence in it.

United Kingdom correspondent Rod Liddle told Tim Dower the BBC's dug a deeper hole.by banning their employees from talking about the issue on air, if they've already publicly supported Ms Gracie. Can we all be wrong? She said, "I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn't believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts".

The BBC must admit the problem, apologise and set in place an equal, fair and transparent pay structure.

Rather than waste money on an "unwinnable court fight against female staff, the BBC should immediately agree to independent arbitration to settle individual cases", she wrote.

"Patience and good will are running out", Gracie claims.

In an open letter, BBC China's editor Carrie Gracie, accused the corporation of a "secretive and illegal pay culture".

Meanwhile we are by no means the only workplace with hidden pay discrimination and the pressure for transparency is only growing.

What did the BBC do instead?

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