10.23.16

Gemini version available ♊︎

Open Letter Exposing the Farce Which Was Battistelli’s ‘Social Conference’ Coinciding With Further (New) Attacks on EPO Staff Representatives

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reaffirming his position that he is in a war against truth itself

Battistelli liar
Source (original): Rospatent

Summary: A detailed letter reveals legitimate concerns expressed by staff representatives at the EPO ahead of the so-called Social Conference, in which we have highlighted severe factual flaws

WE PREVIOUSLY mentioned that SUEPO had sent a letter to Battistelli last month, with a copy sent to the Delegations of the Administrative Council. It was about their exclusion from the propaganda/lobbying event known as “Social Conference” (first of its kind, made up by Team Battistelli to cover their collective behinds).

Another letter, an open letter in fact, was sent to Mr Battistelli. “SUEPO officials from Berlin and Munich write to the President,” a source quoted for us, “indicating that in the current circumstances they will not attend the “Social Conference”.”

Here are the contents of this open letter (which is apparently not open to the wider public, probably due to fear of retribution):

INTERNATIONALE GEWERKSCHAFT IM EUROPÄISCHEN PATENTAMT
STAFF UNION OF THE EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
UNION SYNDICALE DE L’OFFICE EUROPEEN DES BREVETS

Zentralbüro
Central Bureau
Bureau central

28 September2016
su16117cl – 0.3.1/0.2.1

OPEN LETTER to the President of the European Patent Office, Mr Battistelli

Subject: “Social Conference” 11 October 2016

Dear Mr Battistelli,

we have learned that a “social conference” will take place on 11 October in Munich with the alleged goal of improving the social dialog in the EPO.

Meanwhile we take note that after 6 disciplinary measures have been hanged on EPO Staff Representatives, comprising two dismissals and four demotions, over the past 2 years, further three colleagues are being targeted, according to the minutes of the last B28 session1

As elected union officials of SUEPO, the union representing roughly half of the Staff in the EPO, we share the concerns and questions raised by the Local Staff Committee in The Hague (see Annex 1) regarding the so-called “Social Conference”. We take note that at this date these questions remain unanswered.

In light of the above, and in combination with the fact that the systematic persecution of Staff Representatives continues unabated, the undersigned consider that none of the conditions are met for such a conference to bear fruits. Further the undersigned consider that their participation will be misused as a “fig leaf” to cover the toxic nature of the present “social dialog” and management policies.

In solidarity with our colleagues of the Local SUEPO Branch in The Hague (see Annex 2), and Chairmen of SUEPO Central (su16116cl, see Annex 3), the undersigned will not attend the Social Conference.

Sincerely,
The elected SUEPO Officials:
Thomas Franchitti
Mathieu Guillaume
Florent Béraud

Cc: B28 Members, PD 4.3

____
1 : “The Board noted information provided by the President about 3 current investigations/disciplinary proceedings involving SUEPO members in The Hague Staff Representatives


SOCIAL CONFERENCE 2016

Dear Colleagues:

The Office has announced on intranet that the so-called “Social Conference” will take place on 11 October 2016. Concomitantly, an update has been published in the latest Gazette (page 11).

From these announcements we learn:

1. The Conference will be led by consultants

2. The stakeholders are: representatives from the Office’s management and staff, as well as members of the Staff Committees and recognized trade union, and delegates of the Administrative Council.

3. The Conference will include presentations about the Social Study (PwC), the OHSRA (WellKom et al) and the Financial Report (Deloitte).

4. Some 8-12 workshops will follow to “identify key elements of each study and the next steps for a sustainable EPO”.

5. Topics of discussion explicitly mentioned are:

-Social dialogue;
-Financial sustainability and social package;
-Well-being at the workplace;
-Change management and readiness to change.

In the Gazette, the President referred to a number of topics on the “social agenda” but it remains unclear whether these topics will be subject of discussion. For instance:

- The Technologia study is not mentioned as being part of the agenda.
- The President is silent about Council resolution CA/26/16, and about the fate of a number of staff representatives and union officials subjected to investigations/disciplinary proceedings.

Putting the cart before the horse?

The Social Conference ought to be the starting point for restoring social peace, justice and respect for fundamental rights and values.


We wonder whether it is wise to start discussing and comparing details like social packages and change management at this juncture. Are we not putting the cart before the horse? Should we not first discuss and agree on the principles that should pull the cart?

In our opinion, a useful starting point would be to agree that the fundamental rights and the values deriving therefrom govern our dealing with each other and discuss how to make all of our laws and practices subject to them. The second step would be to design and agree on an effective mechanism to enforce compliance with the said rights and values. Once that is in place, all details should fall into place without too much effort, and with little discord.

Prerequisites:

Having said this, if the Office and the Administrative Council are serious in wanting to involve staff (and to be seen/perceived by staff as doing so), and in wanting to identify key elements to move forward, then the Social Conference must:

- be well prepared,
- be endowed with sufficient resources and safeguards
- address the essential topics and
- have a clear follow up.

a) Preparation

The outcome of all three studies, including the essential raw data, conclusions and recommendations by the consultants should be ready by now. All stakeholders should have time to study them and collect feedback, such that the participants in the conference can represent their respective groups and not merely express their personal opinions.

- When are staff representatives and staff going to receive the studies?
- Is the Technologia study going to form part of the studies to be discussed and evaluated? If not, why?

For an efficient and productive process, it would be helpful if the stakeholders (the Administrative Council, Management, the Staff Representation and the Unions) submitted in writing, as far as possible, their comments and proposals on the various topics. However we have not seen or heard any such call from the organiser of the event (the President). Obviously it will be impossible to collect feedback on the spot.

- Is Management willing to take up such an initiative and to create a respective intranet platform as it did on other occasions?

- What measures has Management foreseen to enable the remaining staff representatives to collect feedback from staff? Is it going to give more time resources in the weeks before the event? Is it going to allow


general assemblies? If not, how are staff representatives supposed to collect feedback?

- The status of some stakeholders invited (“representatives from the Office’s management and staff”, the “recognized union”) is unclear given the vocabulary used in the intranet announcement and the Gazette interview.

- What is the difference in role during the conference between “representatives from staff” and “staff representatives”?

- Are the President and the AC aware that such expressions undermine the statutory role of staff representation?

- Are they aware that such phrasing raises concerns that the conference will be abused for bypassing the statutory consultation requirements and bodies, especially since the President in the Gazette sees this Conference as a “tool” to restore social peace?

b) Resources & Safeguards

- Clearly, ONE DAY is insufficient for a proper, meaningful conference, unless stakeholders have had the opportunity to get thoroughly acquainted with the outcome of the studies. There will obviously be no time for a proper dialogue, especially in view of the extensive topics on the agenda.

From what we know so far it appears that about half a day will be spent on the presentation of the studies. Management and its Representatives will have had all time necessary to study them, whereas staff participating will have to digest the material via oral information in a few hours.

- Is this a good starting point to convince all parties involved that a proper dialogue is feasible?

- A number of workshops will be held wherein staff representatives will be expected to participate. The number of workshop is such that the remaining staff representatives will inevitably be isolated from each other, having to improvise on new information. They could be systematically outnumbered or ignored, making them virtually irrelevant in the discussions.

- How does the Office intend to conduct the workshops so that they prove to be a solid forum to identify the key issues identified by all stakeholders?

- As for the safeguards, it is clear that all stakeholders should feel free and safe to discuss. An essential first step would be, in our opinion, to fulfil the mandate given by the Council resolution CA/26/16.

How is the President going to implement resolution CA/26/16? When?


c) Essential topics

- It is unclear what topics will actually be treated. We note that the President, in his Gazette interview, refers several times to a Social Agenda and mentions its various points. However only very few of the burning issues are mentioned in said interview.

-Who has chosen the topics to be treated in the workshops?
-Will the topics of discussion consist exclusively of points chosen by the President?
-Will other stakeholders – the AC, the consultants, staff representation – be asked to give their input, and/or be allowed to put other topics on the agenda? If so, when?

- The latest developments on the juridical front (the decision of the EBoA on the suspended DG3 judge; recent ATILO cases; Dutch Court of Appeal decision) indicate that a number of Office decisions and practices cast doubt on the Office’s ability to comply with a number of generally accepted principles of due process. Also internally, serious concerns have been voiced about the adequacy and lawfulness of the investigation unit’s operation, the disciplinary procedures, and of our conflict resolution system.

- Will these be among the main issues to be discussed?

One of the main grievances of staff is that the AC has chosen a rather passive stance for a very long time; that it hasn’t made any visible effort to listen to staff’s version of the story, that it hasn’t given staff the same attention it has given to the President and that it hasn’t exercised its supervising role as it should have given the seriousness of the conflict. In particular, although the AC regularly holds meetings with the President, it has never given the same chances to staff to bring forward their cases.

-Does the AC consider setting up a forum for this purpose?
-If not, through what statutory mechanisms can it guarantee to receive complete and adequate feedback from staff?
-Which social partner does the AC recognise as official?

d) Follow up

Given the many open wounds it appears impossible to process all burning issues.

-Are there any next steps that will treat the individual / specific topics in depth and substance? Or is the current event supposed to be the one and only medicine for all ailments?
-What is the realistic expectation of the practical outcome of the Conference?


Our preliminary conclusions:

We are of the opinion that the current crisis will only come to a good end if enough time and true volition are invested without delay to listen to each other’s grievances and to reconcile different views. We urge the Administrative Council to guarantee a proper conference and the President to act accordingly.

It would be most unfortunate if the event proved to be nothing more than yet another self-serving PR event to sweep the problems under the carpet.

Given the current policy in respect of the Staff Representation, it is very difficult to be optimistic in this respect. Nevertheless, we, the few remaining members of LSCTH, are willing to put our energy and creativity in sorting things out and honouring our mandate. However, we are not prepared to play the role of the President’s fig leaf.

Therefore, we invite the President and the Administrative to answer our questions without delay, and take all measures necessary to have staff meaningfully involved, and to ensure that the conference can be held in a constructive atmosphere.

We want to make it clear that we are not going to contribute to

-futile PR exercises,
-bypassing the consultative procedures foreseen in the Codex,
-justifying the current tendency to disregard the prerogatives and functions of the staff representation,
-whitewashing arbitrariness.

Sincerely,
Your Local Staff Committee The Hague


INTERNATIONALE GEWERKSCHAFT IM EUROPÄISCHEN PATENTAMT
STAFF UNION OF THE EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
UNION SYNDICALE DE L’OFFICE EUROPEEN DES BREVETS

Ortssektion Den Haag
Local section The Hague
Section locale La Haye

20 September 2016
su16030hl

“Social Conference” of 11 October 2016

Dear Mr Battistelli,

We have learned about the Social Conference scheduled for 11 October.

SUEPO, who represents about half of the EPO workforce, has not been invited. Over the past two and half years you have consistently threatened and/or heavily sanctioned the majority of the elected officials of a Union you called in public a “mafia like organisation“. In the circumstances, we will obviously not attend voluntarily. (If you want to oblige any of us to attend as “members of Staff Committees”, we would only participate under duress).

We truly regret seeing that, rather than fostering social dialogue by respecting the terms of the March resolution of the Administrative Council (CA/26/16), you have chosen to continue persecuting SUEPO and its elected officials, most recently in The Hague.

We also regret that you do not seem to take seriously the requirements of a bona-fide social conference. If its aim is to launch a program to restore social peace, it is inconsistent for you to refuse to discuss the results of the Technologia survey, or to consider our counterproposal for a framework agreement between the EPO and SUEPO.

Sincerely,
Alain Rosé
Jesús Areso
Philippe Couckuyt
François Brévier

cc: B28 members


INTERNATIONALE GEWERKSCHAFT IM EUROPÄISCHEN PATENTAMT
STAFF UNION OF THE EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
UNION SYNDICALE DE L’OFFICE EUROPEEN DES BREVETS

Zentralbüro
Central Bureau
Bureau central

27 September 2016
su16116cl – 4.6

“Social Conference” of 11 October 2016

Dear Mr Battistelli,

We refer to the letter addressed to you on 20.09.2016 from SUEPO The Hague on the subject of the Social Conference, which remains unanswered.

SUEPO, who represents about half of the EPO workforce, has not been invited. Over the past two and half years you have consistently threatened and/or heavily sanctioned the majority of the elected officials of a Union you called in public a “mafia like organisation“. In the circumstances, we will obviously not attend voluntarily. (If you want to oblige any of us to attend as “members of Staff Committees”, we would only participate under duress)

We truly regret seeing that, rather than fostering social dialogue by respecting the terms of the March resolution of the Administrative Council (CA/26/16), you have chosen to continue persecuting SUEPO and its elected officials, most recently in The Hague, cf. minutes of the Board 28 meeting of 8 September.

We also regret that you do not seem to take seriously the requirements of a bona-fide social conference. If its aim is to launch a program to restore social peace, it is inconsistent for you to refuse to discuss the results of the Technologia survey, or to consider our counterproposal for a framework agreement between the EPO and SUEPO.

Yours sincerely,
Joachim Michels
Chair SUEPO Central
Elizabeth Hardon
Vice-Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO Munich Alain Rosé
Vice-Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO The Hague
Wolfgang Manntz
Vice-Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO Berlin David Dickinson
Vice-Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO Vienna

cc: Delegations of the Administrative Council

This whole PR exercise from Battistelli seems to have only exacerbated things and made the EPO associated with propaganda mills. If Battistelli thought he could simply buy an alternate reality and fool the well-educated examiners, than he thinks too much like a politician addressing (and lying to) “the masses”.

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