British Men Win Equal-Pay Claim Against University

April 24, 2014

A group of British men have won a sex-discrimination case against a university that paid them less than some of their female coworkers.

At issue was how much money the 18 men – carpenters, plumbers and caretakers – employed by the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, made compared with female colleagues on the same pay scale. The female workers included secretaries and office workers.

The university maintained that the difference in pay wasn’t because of the men’s gender, but because of their contracts.

As Wales Online reports:

“All the men were originally employed by Swansea Metropolitan University which merged with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in August last year.

“They were on grade 3 on the university’s pay scale — but the dispute arose when their contracts changed.

“Previously, the men had been on a minimum 45 hours per week contract until new regulations sought to standardise all workers’ contracts to a 37 hour working week instead.

“Fearing the drop in hours would cause problems, university bosses said they would guarantee the men the extra eight hours but class it as overtime pay.

“However when the new system was put in place, the men said they realised their hourly rate was less than women who were on the same pay scale.”

On Wednesday, the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, did a U-turn. It told the equal-pay tribunal in Cardiff that it would no longer contest the men’s claim.

Rob Cooze, one of the men who took the legal action, said he and his colleagues were delighted with the outcome of the case.

“We didn’t want it to come to this really but we’re glad common sense has prevailed,” he told the BBC. “We are just so relieved and can get on with our ordinary working days now. At certain times it did get us down because in the past, because we felt like we weren’t being listened to.”

The Guardian reports that men will share the $838,000 payout. They had originally demanded $1.2 million.

British law mandates pay equality between men and women. It’s an issue that has gained a lot of attention here in the U.S. in recent years. We’ll leave you with some of NPR’s coverage of the topic in the U.S.:

5 Takeaways From The Equal Pay Debate

The Politics Of Equal Pay: It’s More Than A Women’s Issue

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

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