Sunday, May 12, 2024

Poor working conditions: Employees want to sue the Vatican

A first in the Vatican: for the first time, a group of Vatican employees is threatening to file a class action labour law suit. 

As the Italian daily newspaper "Corriere della Sera" reported on Sunday, 49 employees of the Vatican Museums have called in a lawyer to assert their rights against the Vatican government.

Around 700 people work in the Vatican Museums, many of them as museum guards. 

Almost all of them are Italian citizens. 

With daily visitor numbers of between 20,000 and 30,000 people and a regular entrance fee of 20 euros, the museums generate around 100 million euros a year, making them the Vatican State's most important source of income.

No trade union - no labour court

Among other things, the employees are complaining about the lack of safety precautions in the museums and what they see as inadequate health protection for the people working there. 

Another issue is the payment of overtime. Since a decree by the Pope in 2015, they have been paid less than normal working hours. 

Another point of contention is the Vatican state's demand that the forced hours not worked during the coronavirus pandemic be taken into account.

The legal process for the class action is unclear. 

The plaintiffs are being represented by Italian lawyer Laura Sgro. 

There are neither trade unions nor a labour court in the Vatican. 

The employer - representing the Pope - is the Prefect of the Vatican City Government (the"Governatorate"), the Spanish Cardinal Fernando Vergez Alzaga.