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No BBC bosses have been in touch, says journalist Carrie Gracie in equal pay row

The BBC has said it is performing “considerably better” than other organisations on gender pay.

The BBC’s former China editor Carrie Gracie says her bosses have not contacted her since she left the role in a dispute over the broadcaster’s gender pay gap.

The journalist revealed on Monday morning that she had turned down a £45,000 rise in the fight for equal pay, and said accepting the wage boost would have meant colluding in “unlawful pay discrimination”.

Gracie said she learned last year that of the four international editors in the past four years at the corporation, two men had earned more than their female counterparts.

She said the shock of finding this out was like a “full-body blow”.

She told Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman: “For me the money is not the issue. The issue is the equality.”

Asked whether anyone from BBC management had contacted her since the story broke, Gracie said: “No one has picked up the phone, no.

“Actually, to be fair, one boss overnight just wanted to check I was OK for the Today programme.”

In the pay disclosure last year, North America editor Jon Sopel was listed as having a salary of between £200,000 and £249,999, while Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen earned between £150,000 and £199,999.

Gracie, who has been with the BBC for 30 years and has led its China coverage since 2004, described the pay offer as a “divide-and-rule, botched solution”.

Explaining her decision to resign, she said: “I could not do it, nor could I stay silent and watch the BBC perpetuate a failing pay structure by discriminating against women.”

In a letter published earlier, addressed to the BBC audience, she said she would be returning to her former post in the TV newsroom “where I expect to be paid equally”.

Clare Balding, Emily Maitlis and Sarah Montague were among a string of prominent colleagues to voice their support for Gracie, who said the corporation was facing “a crisis of trust” by not paying its male and female workers equally.

A number of MPs voiced their support for Gracie, including Labour’s Harriet Harman, Jess Phillips and Barbara Keeley and Conservative Nadine Dorries.

Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), said it was “determined to hold the BBC to account”.

Theresa May’s official spokesman said the Prime Minister “has been very clear that tackling injustices like the gender pay gap is part of her determination to build a country that works for everyone”.

A BBC spokesman said: “Fairness in pay is vital. A significant number of organisations have now published their gender pay figures showing that we are performing considerably better than many and are well below the national average.”

He highlighted the broadcaster’s independent judge-led pay audit for “rank-and-file” staff which showed “no systemic discrimination against women” and said a separate report for on-air staff would be published “in the not too distant future”.

Up to 200 women at various levels of the organisation have made complaints about pay, according to BBC Women, a group of more than 150 broadcasters and producers.


From Belfast Telegraph