The European Commission is to reconsider the case of more than 1,500 foreign-language lecturers in Italian universities who were downgraded to technical staff in 1995 when trade unions agreed a national contract on their behalf without their authorisation.
A petition signed by 466 lecturers at 28 Italian universities was presented to commission vice-president Neil Kinnock in Strasbourg yesterday.
Officials representing commission president Romano Prodi confirmed the decision to review the issue in a meeting with the lecturers' union, Allsi, last month. Allsi claims Italy's government supplied the previous commission under Jacques Santer with false information. The issue was subsequently dropped from the commission's legal case against Italy.
Allsi chairman David Petrie said: "We are asking Mr Prodi to open fresh proceedings or else re-activate the Santer commission's own previous case, which contained correct pleadings on both status and acquired rights, but which was secretly dropped."