Scottish MEP joins campaign for lecturers in Italy

27 October 2005
SNP MEP Alyn Smith yesterday launched a written declaration in the European Parliament in Brussels calling for the rights of non- Italians working in the country's universities to be respected and for an end to illegal discrimination. If it wins enough support the declaration will be forwarded to the Council of Ministers, currently chaired by Tony Blair.

The declaration was supported by fellow SNP MEP Ian Hudghton and 3 of Scotland's other MEPs (David Martin, Struan Stevenson and Elspeth Attwooll)

The campaign for equal treatment has been led by 54 year old Scots born David Petrie, who founded an independent trade union, the Association of Foreign Lecturers in Italy, to fight the discrimination in Italy where non-Italians are paid part-time wages for full time work and are given inferior pensions and are illegally blocked from applying for teaching posts.

Petrie has already raised the matter with Foreign Office officials and fought several legal battles. He has now asked MEPs to help.

Alyn Smith praised Mr Petrie's continued commitment to this debate despite the discrimination he has faced.

Commenting Mr Smith said

"We are all supposed to be part of one job market now, and should be able to work anywhere in europe with the same standard of treatment. The situation David and others have faced in Italy is disgraceful. Italy are openly flouting the law and the courts. This issue must be resolved as soon as possible and this discrimination brought to an end.

"David Petrie has fought long and hard to see this issue resolved. His commitment to this campaign has been exemplary and he and those he represents deserve to see action taken against Italy and the rules changed to restore their equal rights."

Mr Petrie said

"Italiasn have been welcome in Scotland for decades - nobody would dream of rejecting a candidate's application for a job in Scotland on the basis that the he or she was Italian. Yet despite 30 years teaching experience, a favourable judgement of the European Court of Justice, on 20 November 1997, I am still being denied access to teaching jobs - my curriculum gets binned and deemed illegal, every time, because I am not Italian.

I wonder how many young graduates thinking of teaching English abroad are aware that they will have second class status if they work in some areas of the so called European single market. Ours is a test case - My question to Mr Blair and Mr Alexander is simple- what are you going to do about it? "

David Petrie (for comment and info) +39 045 8003408 / +39 347 4297324