A Sunderland City Council bonus scheme directed at male-dominated jobs such as street cleaning and refuse collecting has been deemed discriminatory against female workers at an employment tribunal.
The council bonus scheme, which made payments of up to 50% basic salary, was paid only to men in stereotypical male jobs, but not to women in stereotypical female roles.
At the tribunal the scheme was described as a 'sham', and the group of 150 successful female claimants stand to receive thousands of pounds in compensation.
One of the solicitors representing the employees, Paul Doran of Stefan Cross Solicitors, said: "This is a massive victory for the women who have fought long and hard to uphold the simple principle for equal pay for work of equal value. Despite the Equal Pay Act having been in force since 1975, the council - with the approval and agreement of the trade unions, GMB and Unison - has been paying men up to 50% more than their female colleagues, for work that has been shown to be equal, for no reason other than the fact that they are men."
Cleaners and care assistants were among the female workers who put claims forward at the employment tribunal against the council.
Sunderland City Council was unavailable for comment.