Summary: A document from Jesper Kongstad (Administrative Council’s Chairman) assertively calls for corrective actions inside the Office, as the Organisation as a whole now fears the mess it has succumbed to
TECHRIGHTS has a lot of stuff to publish regarding the EPO. It will come out gradually in the coming days as some of it is time-sensitive, there’s rather explosive stuff among it, but still not enough time to publish it all (I work full time and my wife’s illness, apparently a flu, is not helping either). We do, however, want to put out there the following text from Jesper Kongstad as soon as possible, as later remarks and rumours will depend on it.
To Heads of Delegation of the Administrative Council
11 February 2016
Update on B28
At its meetings of 2 and 17 February, B28 concentrated on the issue of the social unrest within the EPOffice. In addition, a meeting took place on the 10 February between the Administrative Council Chairman, Deputy Chairman and the Chairman of the BFC, and the President, VP5 and the President’s Chef de Cabinet. The aim was to explore the possibility of the cooperation between the President and the Council to address various social issues, and in particular the disciplinary cases involving SUEPO leaders.
The Council members of B28 reiterated what the Council has stated repeatedly, not least that the handling of disciplinary cases was one of the major obstacles to reaching consensus with the trade unions on an MOU. We also made clear that these disciplinary cases had triggered very serious concerns as the political level about the proper functioning of the organisation.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the President. We therefore saw it as unavoidable to translate the serious concerns of the Council members into a formal request to be addressed to the President. A copy of B28′s draft document setting out this request is attached. Its aim is to give a fresh and strong impetus to solving the most important and urgent problems currently facing the organisation.
At the B28 meeting on 17 February, the President rejected the document, in particular questioning the legal basis of the first and second requests. On the question of legality, it is obvious to us that there is no obstacle whatever to the Council making requests to the EPoffice President. It is then for the President to respond positively to such requests. We are convinced that there are solutions which are legally possible, the more so as no one is likely to challenge the requested external review and parallel suspension of pending cases.
It is intended to submit the attached proposal to the Council, for a decision at its March meeting, making a formal request to the President. Unfortunately, it was not possible to discuss the March Council agenda as a whole before the President left the B28 meeting. Nevertheless, you will receive the agenda for the March meeting in due time.
On behalf of B28 Colleagues,
The AC, in its capacity as supreme organ of the EPOrg -
having repeatedly expressed its deep concerns about the social unrest within the EPOffice;
having repeatedly urged the EPOffice President and the trade unions to reach
consensus on an MOU which would establish a framework for negotiation between
noting that disciplinary sanctions and proceedings against SUEPO leaders have,
among other reasons, jeopardised such consensus;
noting without taking position on the justification of these disciplinary sanctions and proceedings, that they are widely questioned;
recalling the importance and urgency of the structural reform of the BOA;
recognising the important institutional role of the AC and its dependence on a well-resourced
and independent secretariat;
Request the EFOffice President -
to agree to an external review of the disciplinary sanctions and proceedings against SUEPO leaders;
to suspend these disciplinary proceedings pending the outcome of the review;
to submit to the AC a draft revision of the Staff Regulations which incorporates investigation guidelines (including the investigation unit) and disciplinary procedures which have been reviewed and amended;
to achieve, within the framework of the tripartite negotiations, an MOU simultaneously with both trade unions, which would have no pre-conditions or exclude any topics from future discussions;
submit proposals to the AC at its June 2016 meeting, after discussion in B28, for immediate implementation of the structural reform of the BOA, on the lines of the 5 points agreed by the AC at its December 2015 meeting and of the legal advice given by Prof. Sarooshi, and taking into account comments from the Presidium of the BOA;
to submit proposals to the AC at its June 2016 meeting, after discussion in B28, for reinforcement of the AC secretariat and a clarification of its position in terms of governance.
Those who have additional input can securely drop it within our reach. We already have a backlog of material, but at the end we cover everything that is suitable for publication, as soon as no sources are at risk. Tomorrow there will be a guest appearance from Željko Topić. █