Five female newsreaders are being paid to stay at home while BBC bosses parachute in freelance presenters to give their rolling news channel “more diversity”.
The on-screen futures of Martine Croxall, Karin Giannone, Geeta Guru-Murthy, Kasia Madera and Annita McVeigh have been hanging in the balance since they were overlooked for anchor roles on re-launched BBC News in March.
The BBC continues to pay the five – all aged over 45 – full salaries but has needed to cover hosting gaps.
Some are understood to have been offered correspondent/presenter positions but these are said to be less senior with lower pay and less attractive rotas.
Talks with HR chiefs have reportedly stalled, sparking fears the women are being pushed aside due to their age. BBC director general Tim Davie was asked about it by the SNP’s John Nicolson at a select committee hearing.
The former TV host said: “You have a group of presenters doing nothing on full salaries, while you are paying freelancers to go into the studio to do a job that the people sitting at home aren’t being allowed to do.”
Mr Davie said: “We need to have fair, good conversations with those individuals… While doing that we will use freelancers.” A newsroom insider said a “reorganisation” has been used “to undermine mid-career women, being pushed to the side”.
Another said: “Bosses want a younger, more diverse profile.”
The BBC said: “We value all of
our staff but we do not comment on individual HR matters.”
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