February 13, 2004

A U-turn by an Italian senate committee has scuppered hopes that the government would escape the threat of daily fines of €309,750 (£212,000) for failing to comply with European law and change the terms and conditions of some 1,000 foreign language lecturers at its universities.

The European Commission last week said that it would ask the Court of Justice to impose the fines if Italy continued to deny the acquired rights of the lettori who were employed at the country's state universities under a discriminatory 1980 law.

Several positive amendments were proposed, but the committee approved only one - to increase maximum hours from 350 to 500 a year. Two more court judgments are required before the fines can be imposed.

  • Italian academics are staging protests against legislation that will reduce job security and increase flexibility in employment laws. A national demonstration is scheduled for February 17.


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