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11.07.16

Threats to Dismissed EPO Staff Representative Allegedly Hold Pension (Blackmail Point) to Silence Him Even After Unjust Dismissal, Munich Goes Protesting for Him

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rumours also swirl regarding Battistelli’s mental health

Prunier protest

Prunier protest

Summary: Protests in Munich at lunchtime (photos above are a couple of hours old) and a response from Laurent Prunier himself, as posted a short while ago in a blog

“Aaround 800 members of staff turned up for a “Flash Demo” today in Munich,” a source told us, “in support of Laurent Prunier.” People in the Munich branch standing for The Hague, in the same way The Hague’s staff showed solidarity for Munich staff?

As we mentioned here before, even Prunier's pension nearly came under attack. But instead they use it to control him, to silence him. “Some people say (in private) that Battistelli mental health gives reasons to worry,” says this new comment about Battistelli. To quote:

What the Register, Techrights and French MPs seem to forget is that:
-the dismissed person was already unable to do any union work, he has been sick for months. Dismissing him makes no sense whatsoever.
-the timing is strange, right after the administrative council budget committee showed little support for Battistelli and (that part was already reported) after the council clearly asked for no more dismissals.
-the timing is also strange because the so-called “social conference” restarts to morrow Monday. I know few people are convinced that the “social conference” is little more than an exercise in propaganda, but announcing a dismissal right before there are talks with the staff seems peculiar to say the least.

Some people say (in private) that Battistelli mental health gives reasons to worry. I don’t know whether that is true, but maybe now is the time to ask the question.

Another person says that Battistelli is “man with such a childish behavior [who] controls an International Organization with a budget of 2 billion euros.” Here is the full comment:

Battistelli mental health gives reasons to worry.

Nonsense. This is the behavior of a perfectly sane … bully.

Denied his last “reforms” by the AC – in particular new disciplinary measures whose withdrawal has been welcomed by the staff – Mr. Battistelli with the firing of a further staff representative – against an explicit request of the AC in March not to do so – reminds the AC who is Boss here.

The most worrying thing is that, by doing so, Mr. Battistelli does not give a s*#t to further tarnish the reputation of the Office, and in particular of the AC that clearly looks like has no control on him. His personal goals are more important than the reputation of the Organization he’s presiding.

As even IAM acknowledges “If the reports are accurate – and that is not certain given all the agendas – this does look like a needless own goal.”

Yes: a man with such a childish behavior controls an International Organization with a budget of 2 billion euros.

Ah, and at the next AC in December, the fate of the suspended member of the BoA must also be decided.

Here again is the rumour we’ve been hearing about the pension, in spite of de facto gag orders:

It’s a shame. Another elected staff representative has been dismissed, the third now. He is not allowed to speak about the whole procedure as he would risk the loss of his pensions rights by telling details. Reminds me of a totalitarian regime. And nobody seems to care (apart from a few people).

People then wondered why Merpel wasn’t covering any of it. This is expected, but not all comments show up. Here are a few:

Where is Merpel?

Merpel is here:

“Firings will continue until morale improves – Merpel revisits the EPO”

At around 10:30 AM today (11:30 CET) Merpel finally wrote about it, for the first time since summer. At long last, IP Kat writes something about the EPO that’s not a puff piece or UPC promotion. Merpel said:

It is worth recalling that, in a recent independent study commissioned by SUEPO in which about 40% of EPO staff participated, 98% of respondents rated their confidence in Mr Battistelli as either “low” (6%) or “very low” (92%). Currently, Mr Battistelli is running a Social Conference to address the concerns of the AC. Merpel can save readers the bother of waiting for the inevitable press release at the conclusion of this process. In an atmosphere where dissenting voices have been silenced, and only the foolhardy or very brave would risk their careers by speaking up for the 98% who have lost any confidence in Mr Battistelli, the Social Conference will be hailed as a resounding example of constructive, open dialogue. All it’s missing is the leaders of the staff union who are being eliminated, one by one.

Of course this presents a shining opportunity for ambitious, concerned members of staff to take up the banner and step forward into leadership roles in the staff union. Those without dependent families and who are financially independent would be best suited to take on this career-ending role.

The first few comments are interesting as they raised yet more examples of EPO violations:

Thank you IPKat for keeping the wider (concerned) community informed. If Article 20 requires mandatory co-operation with the German and Dutch Authorities, what is to stop a independent investigation from said national authorities under national labour laws without consent of the senior EPO management etc? Do the national authorities have the power to independently inspect an establishment to determine that workers rights are being respected? If not, they should do.

I seem to recall that after a staff member jumped out of a window of the office in The Hague, the Dutch labour inspection was not even allowed to enter the premises. So far for cooperation. I have not heard of any action by the Dutch government or the AC concerning this blatant violation of Art.20.

A much needed gratitude:

Anonymous in Munich Office (all others are already at the Demo) says:

Thanks Merpel. Welcome back to the EPO…

And then came Prunier himself with a strongly-worded message (strong considering the threats he has been subjected to, even after his dismissal):

Dear Merpel,

Being the person concerned, I would like to thank you for your message, which I would like to endorse, and for the concerns you voice.

I can confirm that no “external review, arbitration or mediation was considered”. If I were allowed to make my file public, any person with even the most rudimentary legal training would be horrified by the kafkaesque procedure. But I cannot make it public without facing immediate retaliation by Mr Battistelli and his associates, who in the meantime feel entitled to caterwaul to the world their righteousness, and my sinfulness (which I categorically denied and deny).

Mr Battistelli pronounced my dismissal in spite of an unambiguous “request” (read: instruction) of the Administrative Council not to do it. The reality is that he and his gang are completely unable to take “no” for an answer. When the Administrative Council tries to draw a line and impose some healthy boundaries against his wishes, Mr Battistelli throws a hissy fit worthy of a spoiled toddler in a candy shop. And, most of the time, he gets his way. Parenting may not be one of the Council’s strong points.

It is really disheartening to see the EPO, once one of Europe’s institutional crown jewels, being brought to its knees by a clique of questionable integrity. Fortunately, each day that passes is a day closer to Mr Battistelli’s departure – and with him, hopefully, also the more toxic elements of his crew. I wish the EPO wisdom and strength in its recovery phase, which will be long and difficult.

Needless to say: i will of course challenge this decision.

With feline admiration,

Laurent Prunier

This is far from over. People we have been hearing from insist they will fight for Mr. Prunier. A fight for Prunier’s rights is a fight for justice and the Rule of Law.

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A Single Comment

  1. Politelyours said,

    November 7, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Gravatar

    Laurent is right. We heard a talk (by Laurent) red out loud on today´s demonstration. He says, although Battistelli demonstrates strenghth and makes us believe he is strong, he is not. He is weaker than we are and he is at the end and not without our continued struggle. I do not know him personally, but the history has shown that dictators will lose at the end when the oppressed (mass) raise their voice. It will not be the first time and not the last, but it will be our victory! So we have to stick together and forget the lies we already know are just lies.
    Let´s not kill the messenger!

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