Summary: Overwhelming support for the imminent strike, demonstrating that the vast majority of the staff at the European Patent Office wants change and Battistelli’s relationships are anything but “excellent”
Staff at the European Patent Office (EPO) have voted overwhelmingly to strike for a third time in a direct challenge to EPO president Benoît Battistelli.
Over 91 per cent of the 4,062 employees who voted on Tuesday were in favor of the strike, which was called in large part to protest continued disciplinary hearings against three leaders of the organization’s main union, SUEPO.
The timing is significant. The EPO’s Administrative Council – which is made up of 38 country representatives – is due to meet in Munich next week and one of the items on its agenda is the president’s handling of a breakdown in communications between his team and the staff union, which represents roughly half of all EPO employees.
When staff threatened to strike, Battistelli restricted their rights to do so, which led to actual strikes that then drew media attention to the problems.
It remains to be seen whether Battistelli will be able to persuade the council not to take action against him next week. That already-difficult task is going to be made a whole lot harder, however, by the sight of half the organization’s staff walking out the building in protest against his rule.