Four female BBC presenters make 'discrimination' claims against broadcaster

Four senior female BBC News anchors have launched legal action against the broadcaster, claiming a job application process was 'rigged'. Martine Croxall, Karin Giannone, Kasia Madera and Annita McVeigh allege they were snubbed over chief presenter roles, after the merging of BBC's News and World News channels.

The four journalists, all aged between 48-55, claim they have suffered sex and age discrimination after the BBC overhauled its two TV news channels in a huge shake-up, which was announced in July 2022.

According to the Mirror, Martine, Karin, Kasia and Annita said they had previously reached pay settlements with the BBC. Martine reportedly told the hearing that the "BBC grinds you down" in regards to pay claim.

Martine Croxall
Martine Croxall last appeared on BBC News last year -Credit:BBC

The four women attended a preliminary hearing at the Central London Employment tribunal, after having originally launched the claim with a fifth journalist who is no longer part of the proceedings.

In their witness statements, which are said to be similar, the women said: “I am one of five female chief presenters with BBC News, aged 48 to 54, at the time of the detriments, who have suffered (direct/indirect) discrimination on the grounds of age and sex victimisation for union rep activities, victimisation for carrying out protected acts (bringing equal pay claims), harassment (violation of dignity, creation of a hostile, degrading, intimidating environment in the workplace, causing us to suffer ill-health and reputational damage).

“This was because of a sham recruitment exercise where our jobs were closed even though the redundancies were not genuine as the work still exists.”

Martine Croxall, Karin Giannone, Geeta Guru-Murthy, Kasia Madera, and Annita McVeigh
Kasia Madera, Geeta Guru-Murthy, Annita McVeigh, Karin Giannone and Martine Croxall -Credit:themartinecroxall/Instagram

Their witness statements add: “Four of us have been demoted, three are facing a sizeable pay cut, with a fourth having had her pay cut for half of her job. No men and no women younger than us suffered these detriments.”

The BBC is resisting the women’s legal claim in which they allege they lost their jobs and were kept off air for a year when they challenged the process. The women alleged they have been left to suffer victimisation, harassment and reputational damage.

Martine, Karin, Kasia and Annita all applied for new roles as BBC News chief presenters, but lost out to other applicants. In their tribunal claim, the four journalists claim that a manager had told union reps in meetings that new, lower paid correspondent-presenter jobs were intended as development opportunities, therefore aimed at people with less experience than them.

Karin Giannone delighted fans as she teased her return to the BBC Newsroom
Karin Giannone recently returned to the BBC Newsroom -Credit:Instagram

They also claimed that the cuts have left the new channel understaffed and that director-general Tim Davie had said publicly he wanted fewer presenters. The women believed they have not been paid equally compared with their male counterparts since February 2020, claiming there was a gap of around £36,000 a year in pensionable salary as of February 2023.

They described themselves as having been “set up to fail in the jobs process” which saw them being denied work while less experienced freelancers and casuals have covered shifts they could have done.