Friday, 10 January 2020

P.S.


Here's an interesting angle on the Samira Ahmed/BBC/Equal pay story...

Ben Cobley: Samira Ahmed has won a case for sex discrimination in the employment tribunal despite being paid the same as her male predecessor. This is confusing. Does it mean he could appeal discrimination too, but only if he self-identifies as a woman?

Poor Ray Snoddy ploughed the Newswatch beat prior to Samira taking over. Wonder if he'll think it's worth a punt?

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Update: Via the 40-page written decision of the Tribunal (h/t Charlie) I see that Ray Snoddy did get mentioned.

Samira's side evidently registered the point about her (male) predecessor's pay being equal to hers and argued that she should have got more than Ray because she had broadcasting experience prior to to being given the Newswatch job while he hadn't had any broadcasting experience when he was appointed to the role, and the judge agreed.

Just look at Point 113 in the ruling.  It states that Ray Snoddy, on his appointment as the host of the BBC's Newswatch in 2014, "had no experience of presenting radio or television shows".

This confuses me because I remember Ray Snoddy very well from a Newswatch-style Channel 4 programme he presented in the 1980s (my late teens). I watched it every week.

I've just looked it up now and the programme was called Hard News. It's on his LinkedIn page. He did it for two years.

Obviously, I'd rather not get into scraps with employment tribunals over something that doesn't really concern me in the slightest, but when Employment Judge Grewal rules that Ray Snoddy "had had no broadcasting experience" before being appointed to his role at Newswatch in 2014, I'm stating - with massive confidence - that Judge Grewal is wrong.

Seriously, a sweary acronym is needed here: WTF?

And that's not even to mention Ray's regular appearances presenting What The Papers Say in its glory days - which I also remember well.

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As you know, this is an unfunded, free-to-view, spare time, two-person blog, but are we really the only ones reporting this story to spot that the judgment got it wrong over Samira Ahmed's predecessor as presenter of Newswatch Raymond Snoddy, with possible repercussions for her case?

At which point I'll naturally add: Or am I missing something?

16 comments:

  1. This is another one where the Employment Tribunal's written decision will be interesting to read. Did the BBC try this out as a defence?

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    1. Shouldn't reply twice to your own post (Blogger's Code, Article 3.7), but Toby Young is doing a Clive Lewis and seizing the opportunity:

      "Another reason not to pay the BBC license fee. Why should women who watch television be forced, on pain of imprisonment, to hand over £153.50 a year to an organisation that discriminates against its female employees?"

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  2. This ludicrous judgement seems to be creating even more bad precedent. Presumably now when Helen Skelton does the voiceover for a natural history programme she can expect to be paid the same as David Attenborough. A football club with a women's team will have to pay their female strikers the same as their male strikers.

    Why not? That's the logic of this decision: two completely different programmes are said to be the same and two people who have a totally different profile in their line of work are held to be bringing exactly the same skill-set and audience appeal to the table.

    A populist government should amend the gender equality legislation to make clear equal pay means the removal of clear and intended discriminatory practices.

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    1. It does open up a whole hornet's nest of vipers. And I'm still very curious to know what Roger Bolton of 'Feedback' earns.

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  3. From Raymond Snoddy's Wiki page

    Whilst working at the FT (1978-97), Snoddy made occasional appearances as guest presenter on the observational newspaper review TV show What the Papers Say.

    Following his departure from The Times in late June 2004, Snoddy presented NewsWatch from its inception in 2004 to 2013. His other television work has included presenting Channel 4's award winning series Hard News, which covered the press, and Sky News' Media Monthly.

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    1. Yes. 'Hard News' was 1988-1990. Maybe avidly watching that, as I remember doing, spurred me into BBC-watching. (Thanks Ray!). Sky's Media Monthly is new to me, but - Googling around beyond Wikipedia - it's another show he presented, though I can't work out his dates.

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    2. Found some evidence from The Times Jan 29, 1999 in an internet archive - he was presenting it then. That's all I can find.

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    3. Thanks Charlie. That's another piece added to the jigsaw. The judge's claim that Raymond Snoddy had no experience of presenting TV shows prior to presenting 'Newswatch' in 2014 could hardly be more wrong. Did he never see Ray Snoddy on TV over those years?

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    4. Still, I am sure Lady Hale will be impressed by the robust logic and internal coherence of the judgement.

      I remember Raymond Snoddy from way back as well.

      Do you recall Gus McDonald and Right to Reply (which I think covered more than just Channel 4)? I wondered if Snoddy might have presented that as well. Seems not - but Roger Bolton did!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gus_Macdonald

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    5. I do remember watching Right to Reply. Ah, yes, Gus McDonald.

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    6. I was a big fan of Raymond Snoddy back in the day, I also have fond memories of Weekend World with Brian Walden.

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    7. Yes me too. which is why it was surprising to see the libfascist tone of his tweets these days.

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  4. Someone should tell Mr Cobley you don't have to be a woman to make a claim for equal pay.

    If the tribunal got the impression from the arguments at the hearing that Snoddy had been a newspaper journalist with no television presenting experience, you might have expected the BBC's two barristers, one a QC, to have clarified the position - that's if they knew it and /or if it became apparent at the time that the tribunal might have misunderstood or been misled. I don't know how much actual difference it would have made to the outcome though, as she would still have been a vastly more experienced broadcaster.

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    1. Yes, it's very puzzling, bizarre even, that the BBC's barristers (QCs included) failed to spot and point out that Ray Snoddy had plenty of television presenting experience before presenting 'Newswatch'. He'd beat Samira on that front by over a decade. That said, as you say, she was even more experienced by the time she took over. She'd had nine years on the frontline at Channel 4.

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    2. FROM paras 108-9 of the decision, she'd been a fast-track BBC news trainee from 1990 and had various BBC news roles from 1992 (with a year out in Germany working for the equivalent of the BBC World Service) until she went to Channel 4.

      It's hilarious that you happened to know so much about Ray Snoddy while the lawyers and officials at the tribunal didn't appear to know anything - even a case worker preparing the case papers might have picked it up. Or the court clerk. Perhaps they're all too young or they didn't watch tv.

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  5. Ray seems the forgiving sort.

    He, Sweeney! and a few other alumni swap fond likes and RTs on twitter.

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