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Male workers win sex discrimination claim over equal pay

A group of male maintenance staff have won a sex discrimination claim after discovering that their female counterparts were being paid more than them.

The situation arose when the Swansea Metropolitan University (SMU) merged with the University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD). The eighteen men were originally employed by the SMU on a weekly contract of 45 hours. After the merger, their contracts were reduced to 37 hours, but they were assured that they would still be given 45-hour working weeks, with the excess being classed as overtime.

However, the men then realised that their hourly rate across a 45-hour week was now less than that of their female counterparts doing a 37-hour week.

The men claimed they were being sexually discriminated against. UWTSD initially contested the claim, saying that the difference in pay was not down to gender, but the unorthodox nature of the men’s contracts.

However, before the case got to court, UWTSD accepted the claim and amended their contracts accordingly.

The case was described as “very unusual”, given that most sex discrimination claims are made by women. It is thought to be the largest group of male employees to have sued for sexual discrimination in Britain.

Please contact Tony Silvestro if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.