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BBC's female stars demand swift action over gender pay gap

By Aine Fox

The BBC has been urged to ensure it "swiftly and properly" addresses claims by women who believe they have been discriminated against when it comes to pay.

BBC Radio Ulster's Wendy Austin, presenter Mishal Husain and Today colleague Sarah Montague were among those to tweet a statement from the BBC Women group after a review was published into wage disparities at the corporation.

Ms Austin added: "No more divide and conquer."

The audit found the gender pay gap across the firm is just over 9% - half the national average - and there is no "systemic" gender discrimination in the organisation.

A response shared online by some of the BBC's top female staff said: "The BBC needs to show that from now on individual cases brought forward by women, or any colleagues with reason to believe they have been discriminated against, will be swiftly and properly addressed.

"Since unequal pay was first revealed at the BBC in July we have seen too many examples of disparities, some of them in place for many years, which should be urgently rectified by BBC managers.

"We support the work being done by the NUJ, Bectu and Unite in pursuit of fairness and equality, and will continue to operate as a network for women across the BBC to share information and support."

Figures published earlier this year showed male presenters John Humphrys and Nick Robinson are paid more than £600,000 and £250,000 respectively, with the top-earning female presenter Husain paid more than £200,000.

Montague was the only Today presenter not to appear on the list of highly paid staff.

The corporation ordered reviews into equal pay following the furore over its star salaries this summer.

Female BBC presenters demanded changes before the end of the year.

Ms Austin was one of 40 high-profile female personalities to sign an open letter to director-general Tony Hall calling on him to end the sex discrimination over pay.

Ms Austin (65), who has been with the BBC for more than four decades, said in July: "I feel very strongly about it. I think (the BBC) is a wonderful company and a fantastic organisation. And I would like it to be fair.

"There's an Equal Pay Act. I think, possibly naively, the women who signed the letter that I signed had felt for many years that equal pay applied to them, but it clearly doesn't."

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