Lidington vows justice for lettori
In September the Commission had indicated it intended to let Italy off the hook for 30 years of blatant discrimination against the lettori who teach Italian university students the language skills they need so badly. However a senior Commission official told the Petitions Committee that in the light of evidence submitted subsequently by ALLSI, the lecturers- union, the Commission was reversing itself and continuing the probe that could lead to infringement proceedings against Italy.
Prof. Petrie told the committee meeting that the Italian Government’s notorious Gelmini law of 2010 downgrading lettori from their previous status of associate professors to mere language technicians “is racist and lacking any legitimacy – we have provided all the evidence of this.”
European MPs during the committee session asked the Commission to examine the plight of the lettori in detail, especially the difference in salaries between the foreign and Italian lecturers who earn twice as much as their colleagues from Britain and other EU countries, causing extensive hardship.
Petitions Commission president Erminia Mazzoni called on the Commission to “give a rapid response to the signatories” of the petition on the affair, which she noted “has lasted 30 years.”
Minister Lidington disclosed last week that there had been significant progress in recent talks between British officials and the Italian Education Minister, who has called on her director general to find a solution to the shameful treatment of the lettori including finding the necessary funds.