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EU takes stance for Lettori

Further to our news piece in the current issue of the EL Gazette (see page 7) and the latest twist in the tale of Lettori (foreign lecturers) not being paid the same wages as Italian lecturers in Italy, the European Commission has today released a press statement saying it may take the country to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in two months’ time if back wages are not paid.

Under EU rules on free movement of workers (Regulation (EU) No 492/2011), EU citizens must not be discriminated against due to their nationality if they choose to work in another EU country. However, the majority of Italian universities have not acted on a ruling by the CJEU to bring the Lettori’s benefits and wages in line with Italian lecturers, and neither have they paid “back payments to the start of their employment”, to which they are entitled. 

“Our warm thanks to the European Commission for issuing a clear and robust statement today,” says David Petrie, chairman of the lecturers’ union, the Association of Foreign Lecturers in Italy. After almost 12 years since the reporting of the violation of EU law represented by the Gelmini Law 240/2010 that thwarted the effect of Italian law 63 of 2004 which, according to the case law of the Court of Justice should have been implemented, the Commission has finally closed the preliminary infringement procedure formally opened in September 2021 and announced the start of legal action for failure to fulfil obligations against Italy before the Court of Justice.

Italy has 60 days  notice through the notification of the reasoned opinion provided for by article 258 TFEU to adjust the remuneration, seniority and social security contributions of the foreign lecturers to the parameter of at least tenured researcher on fixed-term contracts with payment of arrears from the beginning of the employment relationship.

This is finally a clear stance in the face of the evasive behaviour of the Italian legislator and university administrations, which have in recent years failed to adopt the necessary measures to overcome the ongoing discrimination against foreign lecturers in Italy, which has persisted since 1980, despite numerous interventions by the European Union and the Court of Justice.”

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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