Damanhur Inside Out

Former Damanhurians on the outside talk about life on the inside

The Supreme Court rules Damanhurians must be paid for their work


After a ten year battle by former Damanhurians, the Italian Supreme Court, presided over by Antonio Manna, has dramatically overturned the 2011 decision of the Turin Appeal Court. Damanhur must now pay for work inside the Community according to the laws governing paid work in Italy.

In 2008 two ground breaking cases were brought against Damanhur in the Court of Ivrea by former Damanhurians seeking compensation for illegal working practices in the Community:  lack of sick pay, holiday pay, national insurance and pension contributions, forced labor and low wages. The first case, brought by an English photojournalist employed in the Community’s web services spanned a period of ten years. The second case brought by a former senior head of the Community covered a period of twenty-four years. It was this second case which reached the Supreme Court, the first having been relinquished for lack of financial resources after the Appeal Court ruling of 2011 which proclaimed that as a ‘religious’ organization Damanhur was not legally required to pay its workers. An astounding result in light of the fact that at the time Damanhur’s annual turnover was in the region of twenty million euro. A sum, generated for the most part, by Community members forced to work commercially ‘in the black’. The ruling gave Damanhur public license to continue its exploitative working practices at the expense of the health and well being of Community members and to undermine the local Valchiusella economy. One can only speculate on the motives of the Appeal Court judges involved.

Six and a half years later after a thorough examination of the controversial outcome of the second case, the Supreme Court ruled that Damanhur is not an officially registered religious organization and never has been (a claim consistently made by Damanhur itself before the court cases were brought) and that it is consequently subject to the laws of the land like every other commercial enterprise.

Justice has been done.

It now remains to be seen if Damanhur will find a way to side step the ruling and continue exploiting the goodwill, health and future of its workers. As a self-professed eco-sustainable, spiritual community out to save humanity and the world, Damanhur could surely begin that task by legally paying for work….

Written by damanhurinsideout

July 17, 2018 at 3:49 pm

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