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09.21.15

Dutch Report: EPO Suicides Possibly Caused by Working Conditions Imposed by EPO’s Management

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More press coverage about the terrible situation at the European Patent Office

HR Praktijk, yet another Dutch site, joins at least a couple of newspapers with their reports in the country which houses EPO headquarters. Below we make our permanent record of a Dutch article with various translations. The English translation of the article is as follow:

11 September 2015, From: Jesper van Wijk, Via: De Volkskrant

EPOrg employee suicide possibly caused by poisoned working conditions

Staff union SUEPO is raising the alarm on the recent suicide of an employee of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg) in Rijswijk. De Volkskrant reports that poisoned working conditions may have contributed to the suicides of five employees at the European organisation.

Staff representatives previously raised serious concerns on the policies of French EPOrg president Benoit Battistelli. SUEPO claims that under his reign, work pressures have been radically increased and that Battistelli has unilaterally forced through changes.

Social dialogue

The Netherlands and other members of the European Union have voiced concerns onhardened social climate within EPOrg. “Partly due to these signals, management and staff representatives have entered into a social dialogue,” State Secretary Dijksma of Economic Affairs wrote to the Dutch House of Representatives in July.

The situation has not improved since. In a letter to the 38 EPOrg country representatives who supervise the organisation, the union is now again raising the alarm on the death of an employee who worked at a location in Rijswijk. This is the fifth time in a little over three years’ time that EPOrg employee has committed suicide. In 2013, an employee from the Rijswijk office jumped from the seventh floor of the building during work hours. The other three incidents were of employees of the EPOrg headquarters in Munich, according to the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant.

Possible measures

On 26 August, the union wrote Battistelli a letter requesting a conversation on possible measures to improve the work situation, but so far he has refused. “It’s tragic that SUEPO is again trying to abuse a personal tragedy to stir up controversy in a situation that calls for sympathy,” Battistelli wrote to the union. “The parallel you seem to want to draw between the death of a colleague and recent reforms and the working atmosphere in general is wholly inappropriate.” SUEPO states that a direct link between the suicide and the working conditions has yet to be established, but that the labour inspectorate should be granted the opportunity to research the tragedy.

As we are going to explain later this month (despite us being on vacation), there are many actions in progress and this awareness campaign is even reaching television, not just radio and newspapers. The EPO’s management increasingly finds itself becoming the story. Not patents it grants are the story but the corruption of the management itself. The amount of public pressure has become proportional to the degree of repression and the more the EPO tries to suppress publication (or staff awareness of these issues), the worse it is getting. Some have already pointed out the sharp rise (an order of magnitude) in suicides — a fact that the bureaucrats will find incredibly hard to refute. It is merely a side effect or a symptom of the EPO going rogue.

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A Single Comment

  1. akita-shinsei.or.jp said,

    October 2, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    akita-shinsei.or.jp

    Dutch Report: EPO Suicides Possibly Caused by Working Conditions Imposed by EPO’s Management | Techrights

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