In 1997, the Association of Foreign Lecturers in Italy (allsi – Associazione Lettori di Lingua Straniera in Italia) along with British lecturer John Young, brought an action against the Italian Ministry of Higher Education (Ministero per l’Università e per la Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica) and the University of Milan.
A Ministerial Decree, dated 23 August 1997, excluded Mr Young, who teaches at the University of Milan, and other non-Italian lecturers (lettori) from voting in elections for the National University Councils (Consiglio Universitario Nazionale CUN) .
Three judges in the Lazio Regional Administrative Tribunal (TAR Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale per il Lazio) decided on 2 March 2011(case published 15 June 2011) that the ministerial decree had to be annulled as it contrasts with the EU principle of non-discrimination based on nationality and the principle of free movement of workers – as well as the parameters of reasonableness and the principles of the Italian constitution.
The decree was promulgated by the first Prodi government -May 1996 -1998.
Although we are happy with the final outcome – we did ask, in 1997, for an emergency injunction to have the decree suspended so that non-Italian workers as well as Italian workers could participate in democratic elections in the place of work. The injunction was refused.
We formed our own trade union (allsi) when it was obvious that the Italian trade unions were as protectionist as the Italian state.
14 years is rather a long time to wait for court judgment, justice deferred is justice denied.
Under the European Convention on Human Rights, we will now be asking our lawyers to raise a further action – for this case – and every other case which fails to be adjudicated within a period of 5 years.