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The DCMS Select Committee says little has changed at the BBC

Posted on 24 January 2019 by Jennifer Millins. Source: Evening Standard

The DCMS Select Committee says little has changed at the BBC

The lawyer of former BBC editor Carrie Gracie has issued a stark warning to the broadcaster, saying trust in the broadcaster will be eroded if radical equal pay reforms are not made.

Former China editor for the corporation Ms Gracie resigned in early 2018 after it was revealed her pay was drastically lower than her US male counterpart Jon Sopel.

A report published on Wednesday by the same Digital Culture Media And Sport (DCMS) Committee claimed that little has changed, and the BBC does not accept there is a systemic problem within the organisation.

Mishcon de Reya Employment Partner Jennifer Millins, who represented Ms Gracie during her pay dispute, has said that unless the BBC accepts and reforms its practices, trust in the old institution will be weakened.

She said: "Unless the BBC radically rethinks its position, it will further erode the trust of Parliament, its workforce and the licence-fee paying public.

"As well as the individual legal claims that BBC employees can bring in the Employment Tribunal, the BBC will remain exposed to scrutiny by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and by the Government."

Ms Millins added: "The BBC's apparent refusal to properly grapple with the conclusions of the Select Committee's report could be considered a breach of its public sector equality duty."

"The BBC's ongoing failure to recognise the important distinctions between 'fair pay', 'equal pay' and the 'gender pay gap' can only exacerbate the frustration of the many BBC women still locked in protracted internal complaint procedures.

"Failure to provide equal pay is unlawful sex discrimination.

"The concept of 'fair pay' that the BBC insists on referring to in answer to allegations of discriminatory pay practices has no specific legal meaning. A 'gender pay gap' is a statistical measure used to assess the average pay for men and women across an organisation.

"Neither of these concepts addresses the very serious allegations of pay discrimination made by several hundred women at the BBC, or the DCMS Select Committee's conclusion that the BBC has operated an unlawful pay practice. Equal pay is the employer's legal duty to pay men and women the same for equal work."

Read the full article in the Evening Standard here.

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