Vatican Museums Employees File Complaint Over Working Conditions, Pay - The World News

Vatican Museums Employees File Complaint Over Working Conditions, Pay

Nearly 50 employees at the Vatican Museums have filed a class-action complaint against Pope Francis’s administration over allegedly unsafe working conditions. The workers, many of whom are custodians, claim they are treated as “commodities” by an institution with labor rules that “undermine each worker’s dignity and health,” according to a petition first reported by the Corriere della Sera.

The complaint by the 49 workers, dated April 23 and shared with Italian news outlets this weekend, cites poor overtime pay, as well as health and safety risks purportedly caused by cost-saving initiatives at the museum such as reduced security at popular tourist attractions. 

Related Articles

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 02: A view of Christie's Auction House in Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, February 02, 2023, in New York City. (Photo Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Attorney Laura Scrò, who is representing the petitioners, told reporters that she believes other workers will join the complaint, as it commences an obligatory conciliation process with the Vatican, which does not permit unions. 

“If the conciliation goes badly then we go to court,” Scrò said.

The workers are calling for greater transparency on the process of promotion, the reinstatement of seniority bonuses, and a structure for sick days that they claim would be closer to the norm for Italy. According to the complaint, employees must stay home the entire day, rather than a few hours, as someone may visit to verify that they are truly sick.

Per the Vatican’s labor rules, the institution has 30 days to respond to the complaint. If the complaint is not addressed within that time, Scrò can bring the claim to the Vatican’s labor office to pursue a negotiated reconciliation, which opens the possibility of a tribunal. The office, however, has no obligation to hear the case, Scrò said, leaving the staff with no legal recourse. 

In past cases involving working conditions at the Vatican Museums, attorneys have suggested they may attempt to bring complaints to the European Court of Human Rights. The Holy See, the effective central bureaucracy for the Catholic Church, is not a member of the court or a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights. However, it did sign onto the European Union monetary convention in 2009, signaling a willingness to uphold European human rights law.

The Vatican Museums, a crucial revenue source for the Vatican, are still recovering from the financial fallout of the Covid shutdown and restrictions. Earlier this year, the cost of an entry ticket to the museums increased from 17 euros to 20 euros ($21.50).

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *