Why is newsreader Martine Croxall suing the BBC?

Martine Coxall is suing the BBC.
Martine Coxall is suing the BBC.

Newsreader Martine Croxall will sue the BBC amid a high-profile gender pay dispute and continued questions over why several top female presenters have been kept off air.

The broadcaster is listed for an employment tribunal against the corporation beginning on 1 May, according to official documents. The details of Croxall’s claim are not known.

In recent years two female presenters have won cases against the BBC over gender pay disputes. In 2021 the broadcaster revealed it had spent more than £1 million on legal fees fighting equal pay and race discrimination cases brought by staff.

Why is Martine Croxall suing the BBC?

The details of Croxall's case have not been revealed so we do not know the full reason, but several reports have suggested it relates to her not being put on air for over a year.

The 55-year-old last presented the BBC News channel in March last year. Around the same time, the broadcaster announced their home and world news channels would be merged with Croxall and her colleagues told to reapply for a smaller pool of newsreading roles. In total, 18 presenters were required to apply for five roles.

Tim Davie director-general at the BBC has said he is working to a
Tim Davie director-general at the BBC has said he is working to a "fair resolution" for the women. (PA) (House of Commons/UK Parliament, PA Images)

Coxall is one of five female presenters over 45 who missed out, since then they have all remained on full pay. Since then only two of the five, Geeta Guru-Murthy and Annita McVeigh have returned to work, despite reports that at the start of 2024 they would all be given new on-screen jobs. The other two women stuck in limbo are Karin Giannone and Kasia Madera.

The BBC director general Tim Davie was asked about the situation at a parliamentary select committee in March where he said the corporation was working to a "fair resolution" for the women. He said: "It is not a good situation where you are paying people [who are off air], and we are trying to get it resolved as fast as possible. I recognise that it has been going on for some time."

The treatment of the five women has been a point of contention inside the BBC as well, with some being sympathetic but others questioning why they have been on full pay without a role. A BBC source told Deadline: "I don't think it's rocket science to say they have been badly treated."

Who else has brought an employment case against the BBC?

Coxall's case will be the most high-profile legal challenge brought against the BBC since Samira Ahmed won a gender pay dispute in 2020.

At that time a London employment tribunal found that Ahmed should have been paid the same as fellow presenter Jeremy Vine for their work on Newswatch and Points Of View respectively. The BBC had argued the pair were not doing similar work.

Samira Ahmed won an equal pay dispute against the BBC in 2020. (PA)
Samira Ahmed won an equal pay dispute against the BBC in 2020. (PA) (See Li/Picture Capital)

Ahmed claimed she was underpaid by £700,000 for hosting the show when compared to Vine. The employment tribunal's unanimous judgment said her work was like that done by Mr Vine, and the BBC had failed to prove the pay gap was not because of sex discrimination.

Radio presenter Sarah Montague also revealed in 2020 that she won a £400,000 settlement and an apology from the BBC after being treated "unequally" by them for many years.

The 53-year-old who previously presented BBC Radio 4’s Today programme alongside veteran journalist John Humphrys, said the deal came after a “long period of stressful negotiations” which was triggered after discovering a disparity in her pay and conditions.

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