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Men Win Discrimination Case Against University

Men Win Discrimination Case Against University

A group of 18 carpenters, plumbers and caretakers have won a landmark equal pay claim against the University of Wales, Trinity St David (UWTSD) at a hearing in Cardiff. The men claimed they were being paid £4,000 less per year than female workers such as secretaries and office workers who were on the same pay scale and as such alleged sexual discrimination. The UWTSD had insisted the difference was not due to gender but was because of contractual changes. In total the claimants demanded £736,000 from the university as well as pay rises to put them in line with female colleagues on the same pay grade. It is expected that the men will receive around £500,000 in compensation. A further eight male employees are also part of the claim.

The claimants are thought to be the biggest group of men to have launched legal action in Britain claiming sexual discrimination. All the men were originally employed by Swansea Metropolitan University, which merged with Trinity Saint David in August last year. The university did not dispute the difference in pay, but originally denied it was because of gender, suggesting that the pay difference could be accounted for under “legitimate” differences in roles. The UWTSD said the decisions that led to the employment dispute were made by Swansea Metropolitan University in 2007.

University responds

In a statement, the UWTSD said it would no longer contest the claims. The statement read: “The employment tribunal related to events that occurred more than seven years ago at the now dissolved higher education corporation Swansea Metropolitan University and several years before its merger with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David which took place in 2013.

This was a complex case and we are very disappointed that the new University now has to deal with, in an appropriate manner and with due care, the consequences of historical decisions.”

The university’s legal team told the hearing that they agreed to pay out to the claimants and five more men on the same pay grade. The men’s contracts have been reduced to a ‘harmonised’ working week of 37 hours where the men had previously worked 45 hours per week. While such tribunals brought by men are not unheard of, the case is “very unusual as normally the tide runs the other way” and since the Equal Pay Act brought into law in the 1970s the majority of claims have been brought by women. Contact the Employment Law team at IBB for advice on possible claims.

IBB’s experienced employment lawyers in West London are experts in all aspects of employment law. To talk to one of our employment law solicitors in West London on 01895 207892 or email your details to employment@ibblaw.co.uk.