Italian professors threaten exam strike over pay freeze

Exams this coming autumn semester to be affected

July 25, 2017

Professors in Italy are to stage an exam strike in protest against years of stagnant wages.

Nearly 5,500 faculty members, comprising about one in 10 of the total, have pledged not to hold exams during the upcoming autumn semester, according to the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

The first exams of the semester will be postponed until the next exam period, it reports.

This threat is the "result of a dispute that's garnered no significant results since 2014", according to a letter signed by academics sent to several Italian ministers.

The actions will not impact lessons or graduations, according to the newspaper. "We maintain that such hostile methods and partial abstentions from institutional services are compliant with both the constitutional right to strike, and the right for users to have reduced, but not cancelled, services," the professors argue in their letter.

In a unique study from 2012, Italian professors were judged to be some of the best paid in the world, adjusting for local costs, out-earned only by their Canadian counterparts (although entry-level professors were paid relatively poorly).

But since 2011, salary increases have been halted, leading to years of dissent from the Italian academy. The pay freeze was one of the reasons why a sizeable minority of of academics boycotted Italy's attempt to measure their research quality last year.

david.matthews@timeshighereducation.com

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