BBC Pay: Saira Khan says BBC salaries are outrageous - but she wouldn't turn them down

'Life is unfair' - BBC women won't successfully claim back pay over gender pay gap, says lawyer

A group of 170 women are calling for back pay from the BBC

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

talkRADIO presenter Saira Khan has said the BBC salaries are "outrageous" - but admitted she'd be hard pushed to turn that kind of money down.

Saira had a feisty debate with Jamie East as the debate over BBC pay drags on. A group of 170 women who work at the Corporation are calling for back pay and adjustments to their pensions as well as an apology, after it was claimed the BBC broke laws on equality by not paying them the same as men for the same jobs.

Jamie reckoned the BBC pay scheme was justified as "it's a competitive industry" and other broadcasters will offer more money to top talent.

But Saira said people should "do it for the love of the BBC" and revealed she had turned down high-paying jobs in the past.

Our presenters also spoke to an employment lawyer, who said the female BBC employees pushing for back pay should accept it's not going to happen.

Ronnie Fox told Jamie East and Saira Khan: "If you try and force employers to pay more for things they did years ago, then I think that will actually operate against the interests of those people who are insisting on pay equality for the future."

"While you may be able to persuade people to give up part of their existing salaries for the future, there's no prospect of persuading people to give back money that they've earned in the fast."

Saira claimed the women may have a case as "it was unfair in the first place", but Fox responded by saying: "Life is unfair." 

He also asked "do we really want to bankrupt the BBC?" and said "we are on a journey that is now generally winning acceptance.

"I think it is now widely recognised that people doing the same job to the same standard must be paid the same whether they are men or women."

Listen to the full interview above