BBC pay dispute comes to a head as MPs say broadcaster has ‘failed’

BBC pay dispute comes to a head as MPs warn broadcaster has ‘failed’

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee of the UK parliament has published its long-awaited report investigating transparency, equality and pay at the BBC.

MP’s didn’t hold back when they accused the broadcaster of having ‘failed’ in its obligations to offer equal pay and opportunities to all staff, finding that women continued to receive ‘far less’ in remuneration than their male peers.

Committee chair Damian Collins MP said: “The BBC acts as a beacon in public life. As an employer, it has an even higher level of duty than others to advance equality of opportunity - but this it has failed to do.

"The BBC must take urgent action now if it's to restore its reputation on equal pay and win back the trust of staff."

Already the BBC has implemented changes to its salary structure but critics have said these steps do not go far enough, quickly enough amid. It has heightened the demand for the publication of a gender breakdown of salary quartiles between men and women.

Responding to the report Michelle Stanistreet of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said: “The DCMS committee’s report packs a punch and underlines the need for cultural change at the BBC that prioritises transparency and the rebuilding of trust amongst staff.”

A key issue for the NUJ has been the ‘unacceptable delays’ in resolving pay disputes, with some cases taking as much as a year to be dealt with – despite high-profile cases involving on-screen talent such as Carrie Gracie.

Stanistreet added: “That’s not good enough. We need consistent time-frames that deal with the problems effectively and efficiently, with outcomes that address pay inequities including back-payments of lost wages and pension contributions.

“The committee rightly describes the treatment of presenters and correspondents forced to establish personal service companies as a ‘disgrace’ and the NUJ supports its call for further support and redress for those individuals who are now faced with punitive and hugely stressful tax liabilities.”

The BBC published a list of its best paid presenters in July last year, in which just a third were women with all seven of the top earners being men – led by Chris Evans.

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