Gelmini law's an ass: EU, please use bridle

April 18, 2013

Thank you for shedding much-needed light on the situation of the lettori (“‘Race law’ cited while pay for lettori is cut in half”, News, 11 April). I am one of the teachers just hit by the 50 per cent salary cut resulting from the University of Catania’s “interpretation” of the Gelmini law.

This decision has thrown 20 years of gruelling and expensive court cases out the window. It is unbelievable. We are now back at square one with a law that does not even allow us to take our problem to court. The Gelmini law is not only blatantly racist but surely also unconstitutional in a so- called modern, civil, democratic country.

Outrage is the only word that can effectively describe my feelings after 25 years of dedicated service to this university.

Tony Lawson
English teacher
University of Catania


My colleagues and I at the University of Bergamo have the somewhat dubious honour of having been the first lettori whose salaries got the chop as a result of the Gelmini law in April 2011. Quite a hefty chop, too - up to 60 per cent on salaries that had only three years previously been brought in line with those of other Italian university teachers as the result of a court ruling.

That ruling had taken 14 years of energy, effort and legal expenses to achieve. We have been in litigation since 1994 - two decades during which we’ve seen our rights constantly bypassed by ad hoc measures taken by successive Italian governments (of the Left as well as the Right) that appear to comply with European law against discrimination but evade its implementation.

Not only has the racist and unconstitutional Gelmini law been used to slash the salaries to which we are legally entitled, as certified by the Italian courts, it has also wiped out our right - as non-Italian nationals - to seek redress in the same courts. This is something no country that calls itself a democracy should tolerate, nor should any union of democratic countries.

It’s high time Brussels took decisive action to end this blatant discrimination. If parity of treatment and a free labour market for workers within the European Union doesn’t exist for language teachers, then who can it exist for?

Susan Perzolli
University of Bergamo

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