EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

12.17.15

Ahead of Administrative Council Meeting, General Consultative Committee Warned of “Witch Hunt in Pursuit of SUEPO Officials” (Union Busting)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Social study” — like “investigation” — a convenient façade for painting dissent as armed “Nazi” “Mafia” “snipers”

SUEPO support

Summary: “Social study” is the new euphemism for a process of crushing unions and punishing whistleblowers based not on their legitimate and important activities but some made up/sexed up ‘scandals’ (like in the Julian Assange case)

THE General Consultative Committee, or GCC for short (not to be mistaken for the GNU compiler), has been getting increasingly involved recently in an effort to save SUEPO officials, i.e. staff representatives. An attack on SUEPO is rightly perceived as an attack — by extension — on all other EPO unions. Benoît Battistelli’s EPO does not tolerate different views and the Administrative Council, which has been little more than “yes men” (or women) of Battistelli, is said to be letting down the unions.

Here is what GCC wrote two days ago, with our emphasis in larger fonts:

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité central du Personnel

16 December 2015
sc12915cp – 0.2.1/0.3.2/4.6/6.2.1

Social Study document (CA/101/15) submitted to the GCC

Following the second meeting of the Board 281 in just two weeks, a document entitled “Social study” was sent to all the members of the General Consultative Committee (GCC) less than 39 hours before the meeting took place on 9 December 2015. At the same time, all were informed that both Mr Kongstad as Chairman of the Administrative Council (AC) and Mr Ernst as head of the German delegation (and currently Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee), would also participate in the meeting.

“What credibility could any kind of “social study” have if it is to be carried out at the very moment that staff representatives and union officials are suspended, investigated, made sick and perhaps eventually sacked by the EPO in the coming weeks or months?”Considering the importance of the subject matter, we of course accepted to include the document on the agenda for information and to provide our comments on it in spite of the very late submission. The GCC meeting started under the chairmanship by Mr Battistelli (for that agenda point only) in the presence of Mr Kongstad and Mr Ernst. All three gentlemen left the meeting room at the end of the discussion on the social study, i.e. about two hours later.

Although we remain always ready to contribute to this “social study”, we have already made some preliminary comments along the following lines:

  • What credibility could any kind of “social study” have if it is to be carried out at the very moment that staff representatives and union officials are suspended, investigated, made sick and perhaps eventually sacked by the EPO in the coming weeks or months? If the AC is serious about entering into discussions with staff representatives, then the AC must start first by protecting them. That protection need not exceed the protection that staff representatives normally enjoy under national legislation, e.g. in Germany, but should certainly not be less as is currently the case.
  • We reminded Mr Ernst that investigating / threatening / suspending / dismissing staff representatives in the EPO could not take place without the implicit consent of Germany2 and that it was one of the prime duties of the AC to protect staff representatives from EPO management. We further reminded Mr Ernst that Germany is – by far – the most influential country in the AC, and that he had a specific responsibility as head of the German delegation to put an end to this unacceptable state of affairs in the EPO.
  • We stated that under the current circumstances, giving more (punitive) power to the President would send a very wrong signal to staff, and we urged the AC delegations to reject all the changes tabled for the December AC meeting relating to Articles 2 and 95 ServRegs3 .
  • When combined with the lifting of all current suspensions and the termination of all ongoing investigations against staff representatives and union officials, this would be a first signal that the AC does really care about staff and wishes to regain their confidence.

___________
1 Board 28 is a sub-body of the AC named after the Article 28 EPC, comprising members including the President and the chairmen of the AC and BFC, i.e. Mr Kongstad and Mr Ernst. Its role is normally to prepare for upcoming AC and BFC meetings.
2 The three latest suspensions all take place on German territory, in Munich.
3 The CSC will soon publish an opinion paper on this topic.


  • Genuine discussions on all recent reforms and their corresponding Presidential decisions should urgently take place with a view to correcting their excesses. Recovery should start with fixing the dysfunction within the Appeals Committee, in particular re-allowing the Staff Representation to appoint its own members rather than ceding the President additional powers to continue to do so instead. This could then be followed by a revision of several other reforms, including the long overdue (and promised) revision of the Investigation Guidelines, to make them more acceptable to staff and workable in the interests of all. All reforms, whether current or planned, should then be reviewed with the active involvement of the Staff Representation and the Staff Union (SUEPO), thereby reintroducing genuine consultation into the AC approval process.
  • In its March 2015 meeting, the AC already stated that the social situation in the Office was causing great concern and needed to be addressed urgently. We are now in December 2015, and the social situation has further deteriorated. The process of “union recognition” has turned into a witch hunt in pursuit of SUEPO officials. Contrary to what is stated in the “social study” document, in our opinion the calendar for the study is anything but ambitious, since the final results are planned to be discussed only in the AC meeting in October 2016 (!), i.e. in almost a year from now. Yet while procrastination continues and no action is taken, the Staff Representation is further decimated and staff health continues to deteriorate. If the member states are to respect their responsibilities, then the AC must act quickly.
  • For the CSC, the most important and relevant objective of the “social study” is to quickly complete an impartial and independent staff survey. There is a very quick, efficient, professional and successfully proven way to run such a survey4: to authorise the CSC to re-launch the Technologia5 Staff Survey, as was done in 2010 and 2013. This would have the distinct advantage of providing an internal benchmark allowing clear comparisons of the current situation with the previous social climate, the new survey’s questions being almost identical to the previous ones. It could be run in January 2016 and at least a preliminary analysis of the results made available in February, early enough for the AC to discuss them in its March meeting. If the AC is serious about claiming urgency of action and wishes to regain some credibility with staff, then they should convince EPO management to “give the green light” to the CSC to run the Technologia survey6 in early 2016.
  • Finally, we must not overlook the fact that the CSC is presently not involved at all with the running of the “social study”: it will (soon) be launched by the Council, but apparently only in “close cooperation with the President”. Staff representation stated that it would welcome as a trust building measure an invitation to collaborate in the running of that study. We shall see if the Council and management are ready to seize such a golden opportunity to start rebuilding that trust.

The Central Staff Committee

___________
4 The EPO administration keeps refusing repeated requests from the CSC to that effect, the first dating back to July 2015.
5 Technologia is a world-renowned company specialising in identifying, assessing, preventing and/or reducing professional risks in all types of organisations. Technologia is certified by the French Ministry of Labour.
6 Sadly enough this proposal was turned down by Mr Kongstad who has proven once more to be one of Mr Battistelli’s staunchest supporters. Although he presented this refusal as being that of the AC, one has serious, legitimate doubts that the AC were consulted on the matter: firstly, the “social study” paper was drafted a few days before by the Board 28; secondly, the CSC proposal to run the Technologia survey in the framework of the “social study” was expressed for the very first time only during the GCC meeting.

Notice the disingenuous ways in which union busting at the EPO is being framed as “investigation” or “study”. How dumb do managers think staff might be?

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft's Abduction of the Voice of Its Opposition Highlights the Urgency of the Movement/Campaign to Delete GitHub

    Microsoft understands that by entrapping FOSS and GNU/Linux inside proprietary software platforms like GitHub and Azure it can utilise the false perception that it somehow speaks on behalf of both (whilst attacking both)



  2. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 10, 2019



  3. SUEPO Protests Against Management of the European Patent Office Brought Back Discussions About Corruption

    The atmosphere at the second-largest institution in Europe has long been toxic; now it is becoming a lot more visible again and comments highlight the reasons for the cover-up (gross misuse of billions of euros)



  4. Links 11/11/2019: Linux 5.4 RC7, HandBrake 1.3.0 and Analysis of XFCE

    Links for the day



  5. Links 10/11/2019: digiKam 6.4.0, OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Alpha and OpenZFS Plans

    Links for the day



  6. Video: Dutch Media on EPO Protest

    The new video added by SUEPO on Saturday in order to show Dutch media coverage of last week's protest in The Hague



  7. Politics in the Workplace Are Not Paradoxical and Outside the Workplace They Are Free Speech

    The safest space is one in which no other human (or creature) exists, but in reality we must make compromises and accept that not everyone will agree with us 100% of the time (so we must learn to live with that)



  8. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 09, 2019



  9. Thick Skin Makes Strong Communities

    Learning to coexist with people who don't agree on everything is a strength and successful societies encourage that (the alternative is blind conformity on all matters)



  10. Training (Proprietary Software) Versus Teaching (Free Software)

    Education necessitates software freedom — a fact that companies like Adobe, Apple and Microsoft try hard to distract from



  11. The Linux Foundation Brought as Keynote Speakers People Vastly Worse Than Those Whom It Now 'Cancels' for Purely Political Reasons

    A lot of people are very upset about the Linux Foundation's alleged 'witch-hunt' and even press coverage has caught up with the outrage; but our position is that it distracts from vastly bigger Linux Foundation scandals



  12. An Open Letter to Richard Stallman

    "It's past the time for the official cornerstones of the Free software movement to return to their full operational capacity, and to take the gear out of neutral."



  13. Links 9/11/2019: Linux Journal Goes Dark (Offline), KStars 3.3.7, OpenSUSE Name Change Aborted

    Links for the day



  14. Think Tanks, Bristows, 'Simmons' and 'Birds' Can Only Ever Lie to Us About the Dead Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    The UPC is a dead bird, but lobbyists of the litigation giants would have us believe otherwise, in “In-depth Analysis” which is anything but (it's just propaganda with the veneer of officialism)



  15. The EPO's Management is Trying Really Hard to Distract the Media From EPO Unrest (and It Has Been Partly Successful)

    We take a look at the profoundly bad situation at the EPO (examiners unable to do their job properly because of rogue leadership); we also reexamine how media covered — or rather refused to cover — this urgent issue



  16. Microsoft's 'Safe Spaces'

    The 'new' and 'ethical' Microsoft that offers us all a 'safe space'



  17. 'Artificial Intelligence' (AI) Will Only Doom Patent Offices If It's Used to Stamp Millions of Invalid Patents (IPs)

    The Artificial Intelligence (AI) craze is being used as an excuse or as a pretext for granting loads of patents on mathematics and statistics (maths and stats aren't permissible or eligible for patent coverage); by calling just about everything "Artificial Intelligence" (or AI, or "hey hi!") they hope to mislead examiners, who are also being presented with new guidelines full of these buzzwords



  18. Need More Questions

    Pedophilia-centric scandals associated with Bill Gates or people working for Bill Gates don't interest the media anymore; people shy away from the possibility of 'embarrassing' the so-called 'philanthropist', celebrated by the media he is sponsoring



  19. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 07, 2019



  20. Helps to Have Connections and Operate at a Loss Just to Drive the Competition Out of the Market

    Microsoft still uses the same anticompetitive tactics and outright illegal tactics such as bribery, but we're supposed to think Microsoft is run like a charity



  21. Startpage Shows Sheer Hypocrisy After Selling Out and Betraying Privacy (Corrected)

    After more than half a decade of using and advocating Startpage I've come to realise it's a spying operation and Startpage hopes nobody will notice



  22. Former Mayor of Munich Explains How Microsoft Hates Linux

    Christian Ude speaks in a new interview about what Microsoft did in Munich and elsewhere in Europe in order to undermine GNU/Linux and impose Microsoft Windows on everybody, together with all the spyware Microsoft provides for it (likely violation of privacy laws)



  23. Linux Journal is Offline, But the Articles Will Come Back

    Linux Journal may be offline (since just before the weekend), but the articles will come back one way or another



  24. Links 8/11/2019: Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Reviewed, FreeBSD Migrating to OpenZFS

    Links for the day



  25. Nobody Should Believe Bill Gates and the Media He 'Sponsors' (Bribes) Anymore

    No matter how hard Bill Gates and his legion of lawyers/PR people try to divert the media's attention away from his Epstein scandal, it keeps coming back



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 07, 2019



  27. System1 (Company Behind Startpage, Dogpile, WebCrawler, MetaCrawler and More) Calls Surveillance “Privacy”

    Surveillance seems to have become so fashionable that its purveyors and intermediaries (sending one's data to Microsoft, Google and so on) have a sense of humour strong enough or sufficient to call that "privacy"



  28. Links 8/11/2019: Rust 1.39.0 and KDE Applications 19.08.3

    Links for the day



  29. MIT Suggestions

    Sometimes things are too ugly to talk oneself out of; so a distraction is urgently needed



  30. Quick Mention: Some Dutch Media Covers Dutch EPO Protest

    Signs that the EPO's attempts to distract the media (or from the media) aren't 100% effective; workers get their voice heard by some Dutch people


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts