TWO ITALIAN judges trying separate cases – one in Naples and one in Pavia – have refused to apply the new Gelmini law, which extinguishes all claims for compensation and back pay made by lettori – foreign university lecturers denied the same employment rights as their Italian colleagues (see the April 2011 Gazette). These early February rulings immediately followed the Gelmini law being approved by Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, who formally registered his reservations over one of its clauses while doing so. David Petrie, who represents the lettori claimants, told the Gazette that around a third of the lettori were EFL lecturers, some of whom have retired. Various dubious laws dating back to 1980 redefined these foreign lecturers as collaboratori, or lower grade-non-teaching staff. Petrie said political pressure on Italy over the lettori issue was increasing. German Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) led by Peter Jahr have recently given their support to calls for action from British MEPs. UK minister for Europe David Lidington has asked for a meeting with his Italian counterpart on the EU’s Council of Ministers, while Dan Rogerson, an MP in the UK (Westminster) parliament, has written to foreign secretary William Hague calling for a debate. As we went to press, the lettoris’ lawyers were anticipating an imminent response from the European Commission to their request to start infringement proceedings against Italy’s government for breaching their clients’ rights under European law.