Syndicalism has also reached the Vatican

English Section / 14 mai

Syndicalism has also reached the Vatican

Versiunea în limba română

Dissatisfaction with working conditions also reached a place that seemed free from such problems. Nearly 50 employees - including 47 guards - sent an official notice to Cardinal Fernando Vergez Alzaga, the head of the Vatican City administration, which exercises the executive power of the Holy See under the authority of the Pope, to demand better working conditions. "Working conditions undermine the dignity and health of every employee. The mismanagement is obvious and would be even worse if it was due to the sole purpose of generating more profit," they wrote, according to information revealed by the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera and confirmed for AFP by their lawyer, Laura Sgro. The proceeding is presented as the first collective action filed by employees of the Vatican, a city-state that does not recognize unions. If this fails or if the Vatican does not respond, the employees risk being sent to court. Basically, the plaintiffs claim that they are the victims of overly restrictive rules or, on the contrary, of violations of labor and social security legislation. They point out, for example, that when they are on sick leave, for whatever reason, they are not allowed to leave their home, because social affairs inspectors can visit them at any time. Some, they claim, were disciplined while they were seeing a doctor. According to them, overtime is paid less than normal working hours, secondments and promotions are arbitrary, and if they stop working, there is no social security. "At the Vatican, there is no unemployment insurance, no measure of financial support in case of crisis or total loss of activity", say the disgruntled employees. Employees forced to stay at home during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the closure of museums had to reimburse, from their salary, the hours they did not work, they claim. They criticize the Vatican for accepting a larger number of visitors than the security rules allow. The Vatican Museums, which include the Sistine Chapel, have 700 employees, including 300 guards, as well as art restorers and highly skilled researchers who look after its rich collections. They receive millions of visitors every year and are a valuable source of income for the Holy See.

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