26 men are suing a Welsh university over allegations that they have been victims of sexual discrimination in the work place and received unequal pay to their female counterparts.
The group of caretakers and tradesman employed by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David are seeking a total of £736,000, along with an increase in earnings so that they earn equal to female employees at the same pay level.
They claim to be owed over £30,000 each in back payments due to being underpaid an average of £4,000 a year since August 2007, The Guardian reports.
19 of the group are set to go before a tribunal next week which will then determine if the remaining seven get a hearing. All are represented by Paul Doran, a solicitor from Northern Ireland who has won similar discrimination cases for women.
Mr Doran told The Guardian: "This case is unusual because here we have men who are alleging that they are the ones who have been discriminated against when compared to female colleagues on the same grade.
"These men have been underpaid since 2007. Had they been a female secretary or a library worker on the same grade working the same shift pattern, they would have received an additional £4,000 per year.
"That cannot be right and we hope that the tribunal sends out a strong message that discrimination has no place in any form in the workplace."
The dispute dates back to when the men were employees of of Swansea Metropolitan University, which last year merged with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
The men claim their jobs are rated as an equivalent to the university’s Grade 3 pay scale handed to women employed by the university. All the women at that level receive a higher basic and enhanced pay rate that the workmen, who say they were told of changes to their pay in 2008 meetings with senior managers from Swansea Metropolitan University.
In a statement, a spokesman from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David said: “This employment tribunal relates 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.
“It would be inappropriate to comment further while tribunal proceedings are in progress.”