Rumours About Dismissal of Benoît Battistelli and New Letter From Union Syndicale Federale Blasting Battistelli’s Behaviour
Summary: Things have been heating up since the dismissal of staff representatives at the European Patent Office (EPO) and some even spread rumours about withdrawal/dismissal of the EPO’s President
Rumours about the withdrawal/dismissal of Battistelli are apparently not correct. He is said to have threatened to resign about a year ago, but he is still inside the EPO. “THE FARCE GOES ON,” told us a source earlier today. “A report on Battistelli´s speech in The Hague on February 4,” the source added, alluding to a longer report that we kindly ask readers to send to us. It´s a report on Battistelli´s speech at The Hague. In part it says: “On February 3 the EPO was abuzz with rumors about the withdrawal/dismissal of B. Battistelli, the president who has been trying hard, and managed more and more successfully, to bring this European institution into disrepute. It would have been too beautiful.”
We are still hoping to get the rest of it. In the mean time, thanks to SUEPO, we now have the following letter, which Union Syndicale Federale (USF) published for everyone to see. It is a self-explanatory letter. SUEPO called it “Letter to J. Kongstad – President of the EPO Council” and added: “In a communiqué, Union Syndicale Federale (USF) reported it is deeply shocked to hear about the latest, disproportionate measures against trade union officials taken at the European Patent Office (EPO) in January 2016. The letter is accessible here.”
We did some OCR, made a local copy of the original letter (just in case), and got the following in HTML form because it merits wider attention (some bits are highlighted, too):
Brussels, 25 January 2016
Mr J. KONGSTA
President of the EPO Council
Dear Mr Kongstad,
Union Syndicale Federale (USF) is deeply shocked to hear about the latest, disproportionate measures against trade union officials taken at the European Patent Office (EPO) in January 2016.
USF, together with numerous external observers and the media, has been following the deteriorating social situation at the EPO, especially since a Dutch Court of Appeal identified breaches of the European Convention of Human Rights at the EPO in its judgement of 17th February 2015.
The EPO has not yet met the requests of the judgement, nor has explained why fundamental rights decided and recognised by all thirty-eight Member States of the European Patent Organisation are inferior to the EPO’s need for autonomy.
The EPO has also not yet explained why it refuses to allow competent national authorities to investigate staff members’ suicides and their causes. In the meantime, the list of incidents of maladministration has grown beyond anyone’s imagination and has seriously stained the reputation of the EPO and the international public service as a whole.
Now, in January 2016, measures unheard of in modern society are being imposed on trade union representatives: one case of serious downgrading and two sackings. It has been reported that internal disciplinary boards recommended far milder sanctions. These recommendations were ignored and arbitrarily replaced by harsher, disproportionate measures.
From information publicly available, it is an obvious conclusion for USF that the charges in the above cases were based on formal confidentiality issues rather than on substance. To misuse a seriously deteriorated social situation so as to orchestrate provocations and construe charges against union representatives is fundamentally conflicting with the duty of care of an international organisation.
Union Syndicate Service Public Europeen — Bruxelles (BE) • Union Syndicale Recherche — Ispra (IT) • Union Syndicale Recherche —Karlsruhe (DE) Union Syndicale Recherche — Petten (NL) ■ European Public Service Union Fusion — Bruxelles (BE) ■ Union Syndicale Office Europeen des Brevets — Berlin (DE) et Den Haag (NL) • Syndicat des Agents du Conseil de (‘Europe — Strasbourg (FR) ■ Union Syndicale Eurocontrol France – Bretigny (FR) • Union Syndicale Ecole Europeenne — Bergen (NL) ■ Union Syndicate Centre Europeen pour le Developpement de la Formation Professionnelle — Thessaloniki (EL) ■ Union Syndicale European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions— Dublin (1E) • Union Syndicale European Training Foundation — Turin (IT) ■ Union Syndicate de l’Institut Universitaire de Firenze (IT) • Union Syndicale Centre de Developpement de I’Entreprise — Bruxelles (BE) ■ Union Syndicale European Agency for Safety & Health at Work — Bilbao (ES) • International and Public Services Organisation — Frankfurt (DE) — Union Syndicate Federale – section Luxembourg (LU) — European Public Service Union — Cour de Justice — Luxembourg (LU) Gewerkschaft des Deutsch-Franzosischen Jugendwerks — Paris (FR) et Berlin (DE).
USF urgently calls upon all EPO organs to annul the decisions taken against trade union representatives.
UDF calls upon all EPO organs to return to the rule of law and sound practice as commonly understood in the 21st century and to take all necessary corrective steps at their next internal meetings in order to avoid further irreparable damage to the Office’s reputation, as well as to the social climate at the EPO.
EPO Administrative Council
Cc: EPO President, Mr. B. Battistelli
Cc: SUEPO Munich, Ms E. Hardon, Mr I. Brumme, Ms M. Weaver
SUEPO added a link to the USF letter to Guy Ryder, Director General of ILO, where many complaints about the EPO have been piling up for years. The letter does not refer directly to the EPO, but SUEPO chose to highlight it by writing: “In a communiqué, Union Syndicale Federale (USF) submits a claim to the Director General of ILO aiming at a specific aspect of the functioning of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation. The corresponding letter is accessible here.”
We kindly ask readers to consider sending us the aforementioned report. We have never (in a decade) compromised the identity of a source and we want this report for future record/reference. █