From the TUC

The BBC can afford millions for the talent, but other staff are denied a fair wage

21 Jul 2017, by in Public services

Over the last two days, we’ve seen wall-to-wall coverage of what the BBC’s leading lights get paid.

That’s not surprising. Few stories offer such a perfect mix of celebrity gossip, financial drama and political intrigue. Of course journalists are going to jump on this one.

But more than 20,000 people work at the BBC — and this story should be about more than the richest 96.

While the media has focused on the top talent, the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (BECTU) is talking about the BBC’s lowest-paid workers instead.

They point out that while top management earn hundreds of thousands — and some stars earn millions — over 2,500 BBC staff are on less than £20,000 a year.

“It is totally unacceptable that the BBC is prepared to pay senior management and others many times that amount,” BECTU leader Gerry Morrissey told the Press Association. “There should be a lot more focus on giving low-paid staff a living wage.”

Across the broadcasting industry, engineers, runners, technical and production staff work long hours to keep shows running. Many of those workers are young. They enter at the bottom grade, hoping to get a foothold in the industry. Morrissey warns this can create space for exploitation.

While inequality exists  across the industry, the BBC is a public sector employer and can be held to account for how it uses taxpayers’ contributions — both at the top and the bottom of the pay scale.


The salary list also shows a significant gender pay gap at the top of the BBC, and a severe under-representation of BAME staff.

Although there’s a long way to go, the BBC recognises that this is a problem. In theory at least, it’s committed to taking action. These efforts should reach beyond the top tiers of the organisation to include lower-paid female and BAME workers.

But while the corporation is willing to accept that it has problem with gender inequality, BECTU reports resistance from management when it raises pay inequality more generally.

The treatment of behind-the-scenes staff isn’t as juicy as Graham Norton or Chris Evans’s pay.  But if we care about fair pay in the BBC, they’re two sides of the same coin.

3 Responses to The BBC can afford millions for the talent, but other staff are denied a fair wage

  1. Robert
    Jul 21st 2017, 1:44 pm

    I am boycotting the BBC as the programmes are crap and the wages are obscene. I do not listen to the news anymore as the political correspondents are biased, question time is pathetic, you learn nothing.
    Why should i buy a TV licence when i can sponsorship TV and pick up my news from more reliable sources online who do not have agendas.
    The rich have ruined life as we know it in theri pursuit for more wealth than they and their generations would ever be able to get throught their greed is relentless. No offence but what exactly does Gary liniker and the like bring to my life that enlightens me and makes my life meaningful, absoloute garbage corporation.

  2. Alan Theasby
    Jul 21st 2017, 8:58 pm

    What does withholding the licence fee do to improve the servive or to help low paid BBC workers?

  3. jazza
    Jul 24th 2017, 10:21 am

    Alan Theasby – what planet are you from? Appeasement gets you killed