“This injustice has continued for far too long, it is both morally wrong and contrary to the spirit of European co-operation that the lettori should still be denied rights. I shall press the Italian government to see justice is done”
David Lidington MP, UK Minister for Europe 28 October 2010
British Lecturers in Italy met UK Minister for Europe, David Lidington MP – 28 October 14.00, London, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
David Petrie, chair of the Association of Foreign Lecturers in Italy, accompanied by Victoria Primhak. Ph D presented Minister David Lidington MP with 33 photographs and 33 files of British lecturers working in Italian universities who are suffering longstanding discrimination and abuse on account of their nationality.
They presented a letter (below) to Minister Lidington plus a dossier called “Every Picture Tells a Story” showing pictures and statements from 33 British lecturers from, who are constantly forced to court again and again to obtain their wages. Some have died without ever having enjoyed their full pensions. Others have been sacked and reinstated by the courts up to 5 times.
Dear Minister Lidington,
We hope you will find the following dossier of 33 photos and 33 statements of British lecturers working in Italian universities useful even if it makes distressing reading.
Every picture tells a story – the story is one of widespread ongoing mass discrimination based on nationality, despite seven judgments of the European Court of Justice.
John Young’s statement pages 1-2 was first published in the Times Higher Education, on 14 January 2010 and provides an excellent summary of the situation.
On page 4 we cite the late Mrs Katherine Wells in her letter to the European Commission in which she feared she would never receive redress and that others would suffer the same fate.
Mrs Linda Ogden, p.6, tells of being sacked and reinstated (by the courts) at the University of Bologna 5 times. Sadly, she is not an exceptional case: others suffered similar abuse, some claim that the stress contributed to premature deaths of their colleagues.
Others report of their British degrees being treated as inferior to Italian degrees.
The one recurring theme, however, is that you have to sue and sue again to have your wages paid and pension contributions updated.
In fairness, and for balance we have included a file, p.33, Judith Evans from Bergamo – where that university is making an effort to implement judgments of the courts. We welcome this effort to uphold the rule of law.
Similarly, we applaud the University of Palermo in Sicily, (see Rachel Garnett, p. 34) for not only paying its non-Italian lecturers arrears on wages but also unilaterally continuing to pay their salaries and pension contributions thereby rendering it unnecessary for those colleagues to continuously sue for their wages and pension.
We trust you will give this matter the attention it merits and we thank you very much for agreeing to meet us today.
Dr Victoria Primhak
London, 28 October 2010