Rail infrastructure firm Network Rail (NR) is facing potentially costly claims of a lack of gender equality when it comes to employees’ salaries.

An equal pay case is being taken against the company by a group of 34 women, who claim they are being paid thousands a year less than men working in similar roles.

Acting on behalf of the claimants, the union the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) will outline details of the case at its annual conference in Cardiff later today (May 14th), the Press Association reports.

It is understood that this will include claims for more than £25,000 in back pay for the 34 women, which the TSSA says will amount to the largest ever equal pay claim in the rail industry and could end up costing NR millions of pounds.

Furthermore, it could prove to be just the first of many gender equality legal actions taken against the company, the union said, with a recent equal pay survey of 2,000 staff revealing an average pay gap of £4,500 at NR.

General secretary Manuel Cortes told the Press Association that the 34 women, who all work in middle management positions, were “the tip of the iceberg”, adding that hundreds more claims could eventually be brought against the firm.

“In some cases the [gender pay gap] is as high as £10,000. This is completely unacceptable in a firm which receives the majority of its funding from the taxpayer,” he said.

“We are determined to end women being treated as second class citizens in the rail industry when it comes to pay. NR should set an example to the rest of the industry, bearing in mind the Equal Pay Act became the law of the land more than 35 years ago.”

However, a Network Rail spokesman commented: “Network Rail is committed to fair pay practices and has agreed to work with the TSSA to review our current systems.”