Italian temporary professors ‘earn as little as €3.75 an hour’

Universities pay only for direct teaching time, making effective hourly pay derisory, union claims

February 7, 2018
Woman counting euros in hand
Source: iStock

Temporary professors in Italy are paid as little as €3.75 (£3.33) an hour and many are forced to take on food delivery jobs on the side to make ends meet, according to reports.

Euronews reports the results of a survey of temporary workers that exposes just how poorly the country’s academic 'precariat' are remunerated.

For single semester modules, temporary professors, of which there are 26,000 in Italy, the outlet reports, are paid between €3.75 and €15 per hour – before tax.

Such low hourly pay is blamed on the fact that universities pay only per direct teaching hour, and do not take into account class preparation, exams, marking students’ work or administration.

The trade union that conducted the survey estimates that as a result, temporary academics end up working for free for nearly 80 per cent of their time.

Temporary professors take such low-paying positions in the hope that they will one day win a permanent job.

“Previous teaching experience gives extra points when applying for a full-time role within universities via open competitions,” Pasquale Cuomo, a trade union representative was quoted as saying.

Many teaching professors are forced to take on side gigs, including food delivery jobs, to make ends meet, according to the outlet. 

One temporary professor interviewed by Euronews juggled 10 temporary positions during a single academic year, spread across Rome, Pisa, Bologna and Venice, while having to cover travel expenses herself.

But the problem is far from confined to Italy, the outlet points out. Some estimates from France put hourly wages for temporary staff at €9, while in Valencia, Spain, effective pay drops to €5 per hour in many cases, it reports.

david.matthews@timeshighereducation.com

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