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February 12, 2004

Victory For EFL Teachers in Italy

After years of discrimination despite European Court rulings, foreign university teachers in Italy may finally see justice done. Teachers of English and other languages earn only a fraction of the Italians' salary and often have to teach classes of up to 150 students. Successive court cases, and victories, over the last 18 years have only led to further discrimination, suspensions and dismissals. But now the court has slapped a €310,000-a-day fine on Italy, the first ever for discrimination. About 40% of the 1,000 foreigners teaching at Italian universities are English teachers. They have never enjoyed the open-ended contracts given to locals, and until 1987 were employed on one-year contracts, renewable up to five times. This was challenged in the Italian courts in 1986 and in 1989 the European Court gave a clear verdict against the practice. But Italy routinely ignored the ruling for 13 years. The latest move by the government was to pass a law putting foreign teachers in the same category as the lowest level part-time Italians for salary calculations. (from a story in the Independent)

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