Carrie Gracie's dispute with the BBC isn't about money - it's about integrity

Randal Sanchez
January 10, 2018

In response to Ms Gracie's open letter, the BBC said: "Fairness in pay is vital".

When the BBC revealed top salaries as part of last year's settlement, Gracie said she learned that the two men made at least 50 percent more money than the women in those roles.

After 30-year veteran Gracie revealed in an open letter on her website that she did not trust BBC management to deal with gender inequality, after a proposed pay increase left her still well behind the company's male global editors, she received support on social media from many of her colleagues, including Today presenter Mishal Husain and Newsnight host Evan Davis, with many using the hashtag #istandwithcarrie.

Gracie said she would stay with the BBC and "return to my former post in the TV newsroom where I expect to be paid equally".

In July last year, the BBC was forced by government request to reveal the salaries of all employees earning more than £150,000 ($203,000) a year. The Equality Act 2010 states that men and women doing equal work must receive equal pay.

A recent list issued by the BBC mentioned that two-thirds of its employees earning more than £150,000 a year are males.

Senior sources said bosses were hopeful they could persuade Miss Gracie, who lived 5,000 miles from her teenage children while in Beijing, to remain China editor.

In a statement, the EHRC said: "Women have a legal right to equal pay with men for equal work".

Carrie Gracie is brilliantly knowledgeable about China and its affairs, the fraught and complex field that she has explained and interpreted for the benefit of the rest of us for most of her professional life.

USA editor, Jon Sopel, earned AU$345,663 - $432,077 (£200,000-£249,999), while Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen earned AU$259,231-345,551 (£150,000-£199,999).

The BBC had four worldwide editors, two men and two women, of which she was one, she said.

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So what is a leading female news editor to do - especially when one of her demands when she initially took the job was that she be paid the same as her male counterparts?

Given her fearless and determined reporting, providing viewers and listeners with unbelievable and unparalleled insights into China over the past four years, it's no surprise that NUJ member Carrie Gracie is not prepared to stay silent about the injustice wrought upon her by her own employer.

"During that time the gender pay gap has reduced, but it has not reduced enough". The BBC, as a public service broadcaster, paid by us, has an even greater duty to ensure women journalists of the same rank as men and those doing work of equal value get parity.

"For BBC women this is not just a matter of one year's salary or two".

"It is a century since women first won the right to vote in Britain".

The BBC, the publicly-funded body that we trust to report the news on issues like the gender pay gap, is, inevitably, as bad at equal pay as the companies it runs news stories on. "Let us honour that fearless generation by making this the year we win equal pay".

Could Carrie Gracie take BBC to tribunal?

"Many have since sought pay equality through internal negotiation but managers still deny there is a problem". Management have reportedly advised staff in the meeting to enforce the BBC's impartiality existing guidelines in relation to the story.

But Ms Gracie said the corporation was "not living up to its stated values of trust, honesty and accountability" and that the BBC's audit "excluded the women with the biggest pay gaps".

The Twitterverse was quick to point out the irony of the situation.

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