Friday, 5 October 2007

Language slaves: update

It's come to my notice that numerous teachers of foreign languages in Italian universities (yes, lettori), despite having regular full-time contracts, are expected to make up any lessons they may have missed as a result of illness or public holidays. In other words, they aren't paid when they're ill or when they're prevented from working by state-imposed interruptions, even though they, like all other workers with regular contracts, pay national insurance and have the right to be paid in both cases. In other, even simpler, words, they're being shafted.

This is an administrative decision, proving once again that there are two battles to be fought. The most visible is for academic status, although that's not worth a great deal in the humanities faculties of Italy, where full professors are often unpublished (or as good as: look up S. Nuccorini in any reputable citation index) and, mercifully, unsung, except by themselves. The most irritating is the one for basic workers' rights,
routinely denied us by ignorant and servile university administrations.


Chancelucky said...

Wow, I thought US labor conditions in academia were difficult.

Charles Lambert said...

For full-time professors in Italy the conditions are fantastic: 120 hours teaching per year, tenure, no need to produce research or anything else, more or less total freedom as to when you work, excellent salaries that are protected against inflation.

The problem is that language teachers (who do twice as much, are obliged to accept often inconvenient or downright punitive timetables and earn a pittance) aren't professors. We're classified contractually as technical staff. UNLESS, of course, technical staff get a raise or have some entitlement that would interfere with the nature of what we do, i.e. teach. At that point, we're, well, nothing. And phoning lawyers.