BBC seals ‘agreement’ with ex-China editor after equal pay row

The BBC apologised to its former China editor Carrie Gracie after admitting it had failed to honour a pledge to pay her in line with its North America editor, and said it had "now put this right" in back pay
AFP

London (United Kingdom) (AFP) – The BBC on Friday announced it had “reached an agreement” with its former China editor Carrie Gracie who quit in a row over equal pay.

The corporation apologised to the journalist after admitting it had failed to honour a pledge to pay her in line with its North America editor, and said it had “now put this right” in back pay.

Gracie is donating the full, undisclosed amount to the Fawcett Society, a charity that campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights, BBC News reported. 

She welcomed the settlement, saying it showed that “we can make progress”. 

“For me, this was always about the principle, rather than the money,” Gracie added. 

“I’m delighted to donate all the backdated pay from the BBC to help women striving for equality at work.”

Gracie resigned as China editor in January over what she called an “indefensible pay gap” with other international editors at the publicly-funded Britih media behemoth.

In July for the first time it published the salaries of its highest-paid stars — in brackets of £50,000 ($66,000, 56,000 euros) — following pressure from parliament.

That showed Gracie was on £135,000 a year when she quit, while North America editor Jon Sopel earned £200,000 to £250,000.

Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen also earned more than Gracie, at £150,000 to £200,000.

The BBC’s disclosures revealed 12 of the top 14 paid people were men, as were two-thirds earning more than £150,000.

Amid the fallout from the row, six senior male presenters agreed to take wage cuts, including Sopel.

Gracie, who returned to the London television newsroom after resigning from her role in China, will voluntarily now take up to six months of unpaid leave to write and speak on both China and gender equality, according to the BBC. 

“Carrie has made, and will continue to make, an important contribution to the BBC,” it said in a statement.

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