UK lecturers urge Meloni to accept EU plea to pay wage, pension arrears

 ROME -- British and other foreign lecturers at Italian universities appealed Friday to Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to adhere to an ultimatum by the European Commission and "introduce clear measures and allocate adequate funds to put an end to 33 years of unlawful discrimination."

 The European Commission last week gave Italy two months to pay arrears of wages and pensions to hundreds of lettori teaching at a constellation of Italian universities or else Brussels will take the case of racist discrimination to the Court of Justice of the European Union. Italy, which for decades has sought to avoid paying compensation to lettori, has not replied officially to the EU ultimatum that is part of infringement proceedings against Rome for the discrimination violating blatantly EU freedom of movement rules.
 David Petrie, chairman of the pugnacious foreign lecturers' union ALLSI, said in a letter to Ms Meloni: "I am writing to you on behalf of non-Italian lecturers working in Italian universities, as president of the ALLSI union, which was founded in 1997 to guarantee and safeguard the rights of lecturers; rights that derive from the European Treaty; rights that have been neglected by the traditional trade unions that exist in Italy, which are more concerned with bargaining for Italian employees. 
 "ALLSI has submitted many petitions to the European Parliament on the issue of unlawful discrimination, based on nationality, perpetrated by Italy in the treatment of lettori, demonstrated by six judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union, between 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2008. Judgments were handed down in 2001 and 2006, following the Commission’s action against Italy, where the Court found that Italy had failed to fulfil its obligations to respect and faithfully implement the provisions of the Treaty of the European Union," Prof Petrie added.
 "You will be aware that on Jan. 26, 2023, the European Commission once again notified a reasoned opinion to Italy regarding the ongoing infringement and non-payment to the lecturers of the salaries, seniority and pension contributions owed to in line with the 2001 and 2006 judgments of the Court of Justice, as well as under the interpretative ones mentioned above."
 "Instead of simply implementing Law 63 of 2004, which converted Decree Law 2 of 2004, considered by the Court of Justice to be the appropriate legal basis to end the ongoing discrimination, the Italian legislature introduced a few years later the so-called Gelmini Law 240/2010, and other subsequent economic measures, which have hindered and sometimes prevented its implementation, producing a legislative and jurisprudential ‘pastiche’, whereby lecturers are treated even radically unequally in the same universities and by the same local courts, or Courts of Appeal and up to the Court of Cassation." 
 "We trust that your government will do what no previous government has done: introduce clear measures and allocate adequate funds to put an end to 33 years of unlawful discrimination."
 "A necessary legislative measure to dismantle the current ‘legislative pastiche’ must stipulate that all lecturers working in Italian universities must be paid the arrears in salaries and pension contributions owed to them, pursuant to Law 63 of 2004, regardless of whether or not they are suing their universities, regardless of whether they have won or lost cases, and regardless of whether or not they have ever sued." 
 "Italy, in order to fulfil its obligations, was and is legally obliged to fully implement Law 63 of 2004." Prof. Petrie concluded,  "We respectfully request you to do so now."
 There was no immediate response from Palazzo Chigi, the prime minister's office.