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02.09.16

EPO Union (SUEPO) Getting Busted: “More and More People are Joining the Union, but Fewer and Fewer People Dare to Take on Leading Positions There.”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli is decapitating SUEPO

FTI Consulting and EPOSummary: The union-busting actions taken by EPO management in collaboration with Control Risks (for weak accusations against staff representatives) and FTI Consulting (for ‘damage control’) as described in a recent article, in the words of SUEPO lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld

OVER the past year we have composed several articles about fear tactics, including demands of authorisation prior to publication, takedown demands (under legal threats) etc. whose goal is depress, deter, impede and water down statements from SUEPO. Basically, the EPO wants to control its unions, which totally beats the purpose of having unions in the first place. What EPO management shamelessly calls ‘social dialogue’ or ‘union recognition’ is just busting of unions. There is no room for dissent in Battistelli’s villainous EPO. Battistelli acts as though he’s a commander and everyone below him joined a compulsory military service, wherein refusal to take orders or even mere questioning of orders may result in a jail sentence.

A recent article from Dutch media was translated and published by SUEPO [PDF] in three languages. Here is the English version (without the images) and with highlights added.

EPO president Benoit Battistelli. © EPA

European Patent Organisation staff protest against ‘culture of fear’

To take a stand against the culture of ‘fear and intimidation’, employees of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg) are protesting at the French and German embassies in The Hague on Thursday afternoon. Around 2,700 people work at the international organisation in Rijswijk.

By: Bart Dirks, Thursday 28 January 2016, 11:03am

Patent agency hires detectives to investigate own staff

The European Patent Organisation (EPOrg) in Rijswijk has hired a controversial British agency to investigate staff representing their union. According to employees, the investigations are the latest weapon in EPOrg president Benoît Battistelli’s reign of terror. Read the article written in June 2015 by Anneke Stoffelen here.

A protest already took place in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague in December. There are frequent updates on president Benoît Battistelli’s alleged ‘reign of terror’. The Suepo union states that under his reign, work pressure has been increased and Battistelli has unilaterally forced through changes to the labour conditions. Anyone offering criticism may expect to suffer reprisals.

‘A series of investigations are in progress against three employees in the Netherlands,’ says lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld. ‘Even working for the union is seen as undermining behaviour by the board of management of the patent office. More and more people are joining the union, but fewer and fewer people dare to take on leading positions there.’

Dismissal of two colleagues

The concrete cause for the protest is the dismissal of two colleagues and the demotion of a third at the organisation’s headquarters in Munich. One of the fired employees is the Dutch department head of the union, Elizabeth Hardon.

Last week, 1,300 employees protested in Germany, but there has been commotion in Rijswijk and at other locations of the European Patent Office (EPO) for some time. The organisation has 7,000 employees working at five offices in various countries. They evaluate patents for 38 affiliated member states.

Respect the right to strike

Raising the alarm about reign of terror following fifth suicide at European patent office

Staff union SUEPO is raising the alarm on the suicide of an employee of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg) in Rijswijk. Suepo states that awful working conditions may have contributed to the fifth suicide in three years’ time at the patent office. Read the article on this suicide written in September 2015 here.

Last year, the Court in The Hague ruled that the patent organisation must let unions do their work for collective interests and that it must respect the right to strike. The court of cassation will take on the case on Friday, as the patent office did not adhere to the ruling.

Staff union Suepo raised the alarm on the suicide of an employee in August 2015. A 42-year-old employee of the location in Rijswijk ended his life on the last day of his vacation. Before that, another employee from the Rijswijk office jumped from the seventh floor of the building. Three employees of the headquarters in Munich committed suicide in a little over three years’ time, as a result of awful working conditions according to the union.

We have plenty more to publish about the EPO today. We welcome more material and feedback as this matter is becoming urgent and the future of Europe’s economy may be at stake.

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