Samira Ahmed gives evidence in BBC tribunal

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Samira AhmedImage source, PA Media

BBC presenter Samira Ahmed has been giving evidence in her case claiming she was paid "a sixth" of what Jeremy Vine earned in "a very similar job".

An employment tribunal is considering a claim that Ahmed's pay on Newswatch should have been comparable with Vine's on BBC One's Points of View.

Ahmed says she was paid £440 per episode of Newswatch, while Vine received £3,000 for Points of View.

The BBC argues the two programmes cannot be compared.

Ahmed's legal team claimed on Wednesday the presenter made £693,245 less than Vine over seven years, between November 2012 and February 2019.

She was paid the same as her male predecessor, Ray Snoddy, for presenting Newswatch.

It emerged on Wednesday that another male presenter, Steve Hewlett, had been paid less than Ahmed when he stood in for her.

In a statement earlier this week, the BBC said it was "committed to equal pay".

"Points of View is an entertainment programme with a long history and is a household name with the public. Newswatch - while an important programme - isn't," the statement read.

"Samira was paid the same as her male predecessor when she began presenting Newswatch. Gender has not been a factor in levels of pay for Points of View. News and entertainment are very different markets and pay across the media industry reflects this."

The tribunal heard how Anne Robinson received £1,250 for hosting Points of View, more than the pay for both male and female presenters in the subsequent year. Terry Wogan was later paid £3,500 per episode.

The BBC said Newswatch, which began on the news channel and is now repeated within BBC Breakfast on a Saturday, was "relatively niche" in comparison to Points of View, which is seen as more of an entertainment programme.

That is disputed by Ahmed, who said at the tribunal that Newswatch was now attracting a bigger total audience than Points of View.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), which is supporting Ahmed's case, says Newswatch's inclusion within BBC Breakfast means it has an audience reach of between 1.5 and 1.9 million people - more than double that of Points of View.

However, the BBC's legal team claims Newswatch has "no discernible impact" on BBC Breakfast's normal viewing figures and is used to "fill out the programme" at the weekend.