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UPDATED Lettori: Lecturers strike across Italy

Italy’s foreign language lecturers held a national strike last Friday in response to a decree published by the Italian government.

According to Lettore Henry Rodgers of the European Times, the majority of the 6000 word decree covers procedures for the settlements owed to Lettori, including the administrative arrangements for co-financing, funding, and penalties. The decree also requires Lettori to fill out an online census with their information and years of service; something they believe the Universities should already hold.

Rejecting the “so confusing as to be unworkable” decree, Lettori unions agreed to a one-day strike; the third protest to be held since December last year. The strike, held on campuses across Italy, attracted both retired and working lecturers, students, and other colleagues.

Representative for retired Lettori, Kurt Rollin, has stated “the inter-ministerial decree is a blatant attempt to escape the Court of Justice ruling.”

Last month, seven Irish MEPs appealed to the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, to refer the Lettori case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). In a speech before the European Parliament, MEP Clare Daly spoke on the ongoing discrimination:

“Parity is supposed to be the most important right under Community Law and an essential element of European citizenship. But for over 30 years this right continues to be denied to Lettori, the foreign lecturers in Italian universities. This is the longest running discrimination case on record and it has to stop.”

Follow the story from the beginning here.

UPDATE:

The European Commission has referred Italy to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). In a statement released on Friday (14 July), the European Commission cited “failure to end discrimination of foreign lecturers” as the reason for their referral. This comes just two weeks after the Lettori strike attracted media attention across Italy.

“The majority of universities in Italy did not take the steps needed for a correct reconstruction of the Lettori’s careers,” the European Commission has said. “This includes the adjustment of their salary, seniority and corresponding social security benefits to those of a researcher under a part-time contract … As a consequence, most foreign lecturers have still not received the money and benefits to which they are entitled.”

Lettori across Italy have welcomed this development, and hope it signals a conclusion to this otherwise never-ending story.

Image courtesy of Renata Rodrigues
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