Four presenters lose part of legal challenge against BBC

(L-R) Annita McVeigh, Martine Croxall, Karin Giannone and Kasia Madera, walk along Kingsway as they arrive for employment tribunal.
Left-right: Annita McVeigh, Martine Croxall, Karin Giannone and Kasia Madera arriving for the employment tribunal [PA Media]

Four female presenters have lost a bid to take legal action against the BBC on grounds of equal pay, a judge ruled.

However, their separate claims including sex and age discrimination will go to a full employment tribunal.

The BBC has rejected their complaints and successfully argued the women had no grounds to bring an equal pay claim.

Martine Croxall, Annita McVeigh, Karin Giannone and Kasia Madera said they "remain committed to seeking equal pay".

A BBC spokesperson said: "We are pleased with the result and that the tribunal has accepted our position. We will not be commenting further at this stage."

The four newsreaders have been attending a two-day preliminary hearing in central London, which concluded on Thursday.

A three-week tribunal to hear their claims against the broadcaster will now be held in March 2025.

Croxall, McVeigh, Giannone and Madera were given the go-ahead to have their cases heard jointly at that hearing, which the BBC had opposed.

BBC generic image
The BBC insists its application process was "rigorous and fair" [BBC]

All four presenters alleged they have not been paid equally compared with an equivalent male presenter since February 2020.

"The BBC grinds you down on pay," Croxall told the hearing on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the judge ruled that the claim relating to equal pay could not go ahead, because Croxall, McVeigh, Giannone and Madera had previously agreed equal pay settlements with the corporation.

The judge's ruling means equal pay will not be included at next year's tribunal.

The group, who are aged 48-55, have all been familiar faces on the BBC's TV channels.

They separately claim they lost their roles on the BBC News Channel following a "rigged" recruitment exercise.

The BBC insists its application process was "rigorous and fair".

In court documents, it said: "It is denied that [the BBC] has subjected [the presenters] to age or sex discrimination, harassment or victimisation, or has breached the sex equality clause."

In a joint statement, Croxall, McVeigh, Giannone and Madera said: "We are pleased the tribunal has agreed our four discrimination claims should be heard together, claims the BBC's lawyers tried to split, which would have necessitated eight hearings at great additional expense to the licence fee payer.

"We remain committed to seeking equal pay despite the BBC's lawyers relying on a novel argument to prevent our claims progressing.

"We await the judge's written ruling, to which we will give further consideration."