Salary cuts for expat lecturers in Italy branded as discrimination

Published:  15 Apr at 6 PM
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Tagged: South Africa, Italy, Euro
Massive salary cuts of up to 60 per cent imposed on British and European expat lecturers at three top Italian universities have been branded as racist by leading politicians.

The lecturers subject to the cuts, including David Petrie, president of the Association of Foreign Lecturers in Italy (ALLSI), were already working for lower salaries and with fewer benefits than their Italian
counterparts, with the scale of the cuts meaning many are unable to cover rent and food expenses. According to Petrie, foreign lecturers are also being overlooked for promotions.

He told the media that the lecturers affected are furious, as the attack is clearly aimed only at foreign staff, who will need to take out injunctions to have their salaries restored to the previous level. He believes around 400 lecturers at universities in Salento, Bergamo and Catania are affected.

The move has alerted the Minister for Europe David Lindington and his colleague, Vice-President of the European Parliament Edward McMillan-Scott, with both politicians calling it morally wrong and illegal, and vowing to take the matter up with the EC. Once the new government in Italy is formed, it will also be approached over the issue.

The dispute has its origins in a 1980 law which stated that full tenure would be given to Italian lecturers, but foreign lecturers would only be allowed to work under five year renewable contracts. The European Court of Justice has ruled six times that the law was discriminatory, and have been ignored by the universities involved.

The British government has attempted to intervene several times, but with no success, with the British Embassy in Rome unable to act again until a new government has been formed. Italy’s February election brought an inconclusive result and the various parties are as yet unable to agree on a coalition.
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