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09.09.15

Benoît Battistelli and His Goons From Control Risks (CRG) Try to Crush Unions, Not Just Journalism

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Illegal Union Firing

Summary: The EPO’s shameless assault on staff unions reaches an all-time high (or all-time low in terms of ethical standards) as voices of legitimate concern grow louder inside the organisation, whose employees are increasingly fed up with the management’s attitude and blatant disregard for European laws

WHEN Benoît Battistelli signed the Control Risks (CRG) contract, despite CRG being a Military-industrial Complex firm, he served to seriously discredit his entire organisation. We strongly encourage all of our readers to learn about how union busting is done (it’s extremely ugly and unethical, sometimes even illegal and literally murderous) in order to better grasp what Battistelli is up to. Another suicide at the EPO became just a matter of time and the frequency of suicides recently accelerated [1, 2, 3, 4] . For Battistelli, this is war. Here is a letter sent to the Administrative Council (largely Battistelli-occupied by now). Notice the number of signatures, some from high-level employees who are brave enough to add their names, despite the known hostilities and the union-busting spirit of Battistelli, not to mention that of his right-hand man Željko Topić).

To Heads of the Delegations
of the Administrative Council
of the European Patent Organisation

Fifth suicide since 2012

Dear Sir, Dear Madam,

We regret to have to inform you that another colleague, a married man, 42 years old and father of two, committed suicide at the end of August on the last day of his holidays. If our thoughts go in the first place to his family and friends, this tragedy also compels us to
recall some other recent tragic events.

This is the fifth suicide at the EPO in 39 months, and the third one in Patent Administration (DG2). This latest suicide puts the EPO statistically on a level with the infamous France Telecom.

The EPO has a duty of care towards its staff. While the circumstances of this tragedy are still being looked into, we must nevertheless ask ourselves whether there is anything the
Office could or indeed should have done that might have prevented it. It cannot be ignored that Patent Administration is the area most affected by constant restructuring as well as swingeing staff reductions imposed by Mr Battistelli since his arrival at the EPO.

Staff representatives have repeatedly warned both the Administration and the Council that a combination of too high work demands coupled with hasty reforms and brutal management methods have generated what we consider a toxic work environment, not just in Patent Administration, but Office-wide. Not only have these warnings been ignored, but also letters sent to you by the Central Staff Committee (CSC) on the following dates remain unanswered:

- 5 December 2013 (sc13181cl),
- 16 September 2014 (sc14193cl)
- 17 April 2015 (sc15164cl)

We herein restate the content of those letters and reiterate the requests made in them. We also remark that to date the EPO continues to prevent independent inspection of the EPO premises by national authorities. Furthermore, the Administration has yet to give the


“green light” to allow staff representatives to again organise an independent staff survey by Technologia, an external body trusted by staff.

A quick glance at the attached correspondence should suffice for you to understand how unwilling the President and his close associates are to tackle these issues promptly. Meanwhile and contrary to the “lip service” paid by the Administration in referring to a “renewed social dialogue”, the reality is that the working climate within the EPO has further deteriorated.

In the light of all the above issues, we urge you to ensure that the Organisation discharges faithfully and fully its obligations towards staff.

Yours sincerely

The SUEPO Central Bureau

Joachim Michels
Chair SUEPO Central

Elizabeth Hardon
Vice-Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO Munich

Alain Rosé
Vice-Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO The Hague

Wolfgang Manntz
Vice-Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO Berlin

David Dickinson
Vice-Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO Vienna

Annex 1: Letter of Alain Rosé to Mr Battistelli, 26 August 2015
Annex 2: Answer of Mr Battistelli, 28 August 2015
Annex 3: Letter of Alain Rosé to Mr Battistelli, 1 September 2015

Benoît Battistelli and his goons From Control Risks (CRG) respond with great force, quite frankly as usual.

SUEPO published the letter addressed to the Administrative Council of the EPO the day before yesterday or the day before that (it got leaked to us). “Investigations at the EPO,” told us a source, are not subjected to scrutiny. Things must change. “Here is the latest SUEPO publication on investigations by Control Risks,” told us one person. “It is self-explanatory.”

Here is an HTML version of the original PDF [PDF], which is suitably redacted:

From: Claudio Zanghi
Sent: Friday, September 04, 2015 4:30 PM
To: ██████████
Cc: ██████ ██████@controlrisks.com); ███████@controlrisks.com
Subject: Confidential document for your attention: case C-071

Dear

With this email, I am sending you a notification of allegations of harassment raised against you.

Please also find attached information relating to the process, your rights, obligations, and the expectations towards you. Kindly read this information carefully, and let me know if you have any questions. Our reference case number for this matter is C-071; please include this in any correspondence.

You are hereby invited to meet with the Investigative Unit for an interview, to which you may be accompanied by an Office employee of your choice not connected to the matter (see attached notification § 4), on:

Thursday 10 September 2015, at 13:30 hrs. in the Munich Isar building, room 126.

The interview is scheduled to take place in your preferred official language. Kindly inform us if you wish to hold the interview in a different official language of the Office.

As indicated in the attached notification, pursuant Art. 4 of Circ. No. 341 and 342 we have to inform you of the obligation to maintain strict confidentiality on the matter, including the present communication.

Sincerely

Claudio Zanghi
Head of Investigative Unit | Dep. 0.6.1.1
European Patent Office
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1 | 80469 Munich | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)89 2399 1607
Mobile +49 151 54404184
czanghi@epo.org
www.epo.org

Recall what CRG has been doing so far. We wrote about some of their abusive behaviour in articles such as:

EPO staff needs to support this union, which has been sacrificing personal calm and definitely work security for the betterment of working conditions and the welfare of fellow workers. Look how these people are treated merely for combating corruption and trying to uphold the law.

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