01.28.16

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Independent Dutch Investigation to Commence Into the Working Conditions at the European Patent Office in Rijswijk

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Photograph below published by Dutch media today

EPO protest

Summary: Dutch politicians are taking further steps in order to tackle extreme abuse at the European Patent Office (EPO), where staff is being herded like sheep and staff representatives are facing mock trials

AS we have anticipated for a while, after increasing levels of communication with European officials, political actions against the EPO are starting to become more visible as plenary investigations finally bubble up to the surface. While there’s plenty more on the way, today we are being notified of Dutch actions, in addition to ongoing actions in France (there’s more on the way from the UK and other countries).

“Battistelli clearly touched a nerve when firing Hardon, who is Dutch.”This post, as one might expect given the location of today’s protest, will focus on the Dutch actions. So far we have published two articles about the outcome in the media (even television) and some background information was posted before the protest.

Battistelli clearly touched a nerve when firing Hardon, who is Dutch. Now he has a Hardon problem that no bodyguards and limousines can make up for. Another article about the EPO has been assigned for translation and gradually we expect to have more pieces of this latest Dutch storm. According to the following article and its translation, an independent investigation is coming. Hardon asked for it.

Martijn van Dam (Secretary of Economic Affairs) begins in March an independent investigation into the working conditions at the European Patent Office in Rijswijk.

He will shortly also a meeting with the chief executive of the European institute, whose staff has long been dissatisfied with the business.

Thursday protesting workers from the poor working atmosphere and against the dismissal of colleagues who criticized the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, the boss of the European Patent Office. The agency is reorganizing and the Cabinet and parliament showed earlier that it would be more careful.

To improve the situation the next six months will be given to all matters that could affect the ”social situation” of their employees, career development, remuneration and the position of the trade unions. Van Dam expects the investigation was completed before the summer.

The European Patent Office is an international organization with 38 Member States, including all members of the European Union. The office in Rijswijk with its 2800 employees, mostly highly skilled engineers and scientists, the largest international organization in the Netherlands. The agency protects the patent rights of inventors.

As one person correctly put it: “Dismissing Mrs. Hardon – a Dutch citizen – has really touched a raw nerve with the Dutch.” Another person said: “The “independent enquiry into the situation at the EPO” announced by the Dutch Minister is the so-called “social audit” agreed upon by the Administrative Council in December.”

“It’s an improvised Stasi put together by the grossly underqualified Team Battistelli.”“Details of the Minister’s statement can be found here (in Dutch),” the person added. “How “independent” the enquiry will be remains to be seen.” This is another thing which probably requires a translation from Dutch into English. It’s a statement regarding the abuse of EPO staff in the Netherlands.

“Dutch authorities today have announced an independent enquiry into the situation at the EPO,” wrote another person, “which cannot but reveal great mental stress and suffering among staff. Office “doctors” might have a difficult time answering uncomfortable questions about EPO´s health policy.”

We have separately learned that Battistelli downgraded the medical directors of the EPO to technicians in 2015. Elodie Bergot then ordered them to remove any traces of any in-house medical malpractice. She forbade them to log or report medical emergencies from now on. Elodie Bergot oversees all medical cases now. She has access to every employee’s medical file, but has no medical background herself.

“The Investigative Unit does have its ‘scouts’ like Sebastian Bauer, but they don’t do video recordings or anything like that (as far as we can tell based on information we have).”This is a recipe for disaster. It’s an improvised Stasi put together by the grossly underqualified Team Battistelli.

“Many journalists and cameramen joined today’s demo,” wrote this person some hours ago. “Either it was the investigative unit taking pictures of individual protesters, or there will be wider press coverage in coming days.”

The Investigative Unit does have its 'scouts' like Sebastian Bauer, but they don’t do video recordings or anything like that (as far as we can tell based on information we have).

Noting that Battistelli exacerbated the penalties for staff representatives (discarding the recommendations from disciplinary committees), this one comment said only one dismissal “was (more or less) the recommendation of the Internal Inquistion a.k.a. Disciplinary Committee. Although they actually recommended one dismissal, one downgrade and one “freeze on promotion” for the next three years. The decision of the President was to dismiss two and downgrade the third. In all three cases he exceeded the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee because he “supplemented” one of the dismissals with a 20% reduction in pension rights.”

“There are not only obvious sanctions against union officials and staff representatives but also more subtile ones,” a commenter added later, “like denial of awards and promotions despite excellent performance and forced transfers.”

We have heard of that before. We also saw how illnesses get shamelessly exploited to punish staff and rob such staff over the long run/long term (e.g. compensation, pensions). Financial sanctions such as these are intended to weaken coordinators, so we strongly urge staff to support sacked representatives and their families. It would ultimately help everyone, collectively. Try to disrupt the union-busting games of Team Battistelli, the Investigative Unit, and external thugs like CRG. Surprise them.

As this comment put it earlier tonight, “you never have 100% of the workforce present but rather ca. 75 to 80 % due to all kind of missions, training, part-time, sick leave + managers + wanna be managers. 900 is therefore a very high number for The Hague. This being said the pathetic VP1 stating “his door is always open” when he is one of the most aggressive ones towards SUEPO officials is an absolute must see” (here is the direct link).

“Try to disrupt the union-busting games of Team Battistelli, the Investigative Unit, and external thugs like CRG.”We are working on some video editing in order to make more of this material easily accessible and neatly organised for future reference (some Dutch journalists and politicians evidently access Techrights for information today).

“The Dutch are overreacting,” one person wrote sarcastically, in order to highlight what German yis doing wrong. “They should take example from the Germans, for once: no press or TV reports about the last demo in front of the EPO (1300 people), no journalists challenging the press releases of the Office, no politicians expressing their worries, absolutely no reaction at all from the Minister of Justice. Btw, who said in a comment to the other post that “the flow of money from the EPO is what funds (almost entirely) the entire Justice Ministry of Germany.”?”

“EPO governance is broken by design,” the President of the FFII wrote earlier today, as “money flows to ministries, as long as that flows.”

Germany hardly has any incentive to admit that there is an issue and then address the issue. Here is the latest comment in IP Kat. It says:

just seen on SUEPO Facebook : :o)))))))))))))))))))))))))))

AMAZING : Minnoye declaring to the NL TV that should the Cassation case be lost for the EPO they will simply disregard its application ….

and also mentioning the on-going investigations against staff reps in The Hague which would be just a coincidence if they concern SUEPO officials …

We have a new hero !!!!!

what a bunch of clowns

As one other person put it several hours ago, “Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich = seat of EPO) still silent about the protests in The Hague. Check via http://www.sueddeutsche.de/news?search=[query …]”

Yes, Süddeutsche Zeitung has gone rogue (the writers changed too) and it now seems like the EPO management’s mouthpiece in Germany. Either it says nothing (a conspiracy of silence) or it spreads misinformation and libel which suits the Investigative Unit's Inquisition.

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