It is alleged that the BBC forced presenters to form companies and treat themselves as freelancers, resulting in them being left with very little employment protection involving matters such as holiday or sick pay.
Kirsty Lang, presenter of the Art Programme Front Row since 2004, gave evidence to the Commons Cultural Committee in which she stated that all her worst fears came true when she was moved onto a new contract.
She stated that she was unable to take bereavement leave; “In fact, I went back and did my first show even before [her step-daughter’s] funeral, because I had to get some money in”.
She went on to state that “...and then two years after that, I was diagnosed with Cancer. I had surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy. I worked the whole way through”.
In response to the comments made at the Commons Culture Committee, the BBC said in their statement that “they always try to balance our responsibility to presenters with our responsibility to suspend the licence fee appropriately”.