University of Wales Trinity St David men awarded £460,000

Three of the claimants (L-R) Nicholas Thomas, Rob Cooze  and Mike Betson Rob Cooze, Nicholas Thomas and Mike Betson were among the claimants

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Eighteen men unhappy at being paid less than their female colleagues at a university have been awarded a total of £460,000 in back pay.

The caretakers and maintenance staff won their sex discrimination case in April.

Bosses had insisted the difference was not due to gender but down to changes to the men's contracts.

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David said it was dealing with the consequences of historical decisions.

It was believed to be the first time such a large group of men had launched legal action in Britain claiming sexual discrimination.

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

'Complex case'

The men had been on minimum 45-hour-a-week contracts, until new regulations sought to standardise 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.

But when the new system was implemented, the men said they realised their hourly rate was less than women who were on the same pay scale.

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David said it had no involvement in the decisions that were made by Swansea Metropolitan University in 2007 which resulted in the case.

"This was a complex case and we are very disappointed that the newly merged university now has to deal with, in an appropriate manner and with due care, the consequences of historical decisions," said a spokesperson.

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