BBC editor quits over equal pay row

Joann Johnston
January 8, 2018

"It is hugely regrettable that an outstanding and award-winning journalist like Carrie Gracie feels she has no option but to resign from her post as China editor because the BBC has not valued her equally with her male counterparts", they said in a statement published by the BBC's Lyse Doucet, chief global correspondent.

Carrie Gracie, who has been the BBC's China Editor since 2013, claimed the corporation is "breaking equality law" in its dealings with staff, and adopting a "bunker mentality" which is failing to address the significant pay gap.

Gracie said she was "moved" by the reaction, adding: "I think the scale of feeling, not just among BBC women but also just more widely across the country and also internationally, the support that I've had in the last few hours over this, I think it does speak to the depth of hunger for an equal, fair and transparent pay system".

Last July, the BBC was forced to reveal the salaries of all employees who earnied more than 150,000 pounds a year.

In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said "fairness in pay" at the corporation "is vital".

"A separate report for on air staff will be published in the not too distant future", it said.

The BBC has said it is performing "considerably better" than other organisations on gender pay, although a group representing women at the corporation said it knew of up to 200 who had lodged complaints.

Gracie said she was dismayed to discover the BBC's two male global editors earned "at least 50% more" than their two female counterparts.

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USA editor Jon Sopel earned 200,000-249,999 pounds while Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen earned 150,000-199,999 pounds.

After the report was published, Gracie said she told her bosses "the only acceptable resolution would be for all global editors to be paid the same amount", she writes. Gracie was not on the list, meaning her salary was less than £150,000.

The BBC's Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet, Today presenter Sarah Montague, and Jane Garvey, of Radio 4's Woman's Hour, all described Gracie as "brave and brilliant".

Gracie said she wasn't seeking a pay raise, just equal pay.

Gracie, a fluent Mandarin speaker who has covered China for almost three decades, said that after she turned down the raise, she was "subjected to a dismayingly incompetent and undermining grievance process".

The BBC is funded through fees paid by its viewers, who are required to shell out £147 ($199) a year.

But the government required the BBC to publish its pay data as part of an effort to improve transparency past year.

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