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11.10.16

SUEPO (EPO Staff Union) “Fears Now That the Intention Behind This Blow is “to Destroy” the Union.”

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

Summary: Translation of the new article from Heise, revealing some new bits of information about union-busting activity in The Hague

EARLIER today we published a call for translations, after we had gotten a translation from Skarbrand in Diaspora* as it turns out. It’s a translation of the article from Heise and although not perfect (especially not the terminology which was somewhat lost in translation), it does contain some relatively new information.

European parliament fires more union workers

picture text: Again demonstration of employees in front of the European Patent Agency in Munich. (picture: dpa, Frank Leonhardt)

After the heads of the in-house union Suepo in Munich lost their jobs, the leader of the EPA (European Patent Agency) fires the financial secretary of employee-representation in The Hague. Approximately 800 workers demonstrate against it.

Despite multiple intern conferences to brighten the working atmosphere, the struggle in the EPA wont stop. On Monday in-house union Suepo called again on short notice for demonstration. Insiders say around 800 people joined at the agency-seat in Munich. Reason for the action: EPA president Benoît Battistelli fired Suepo financial secretary Laurent Prunier in the Hague last week.

Battistelli against union

Heise Online stated the EPA leaders accused Laurent Prunier, during his written call to protest, of pressuring and harassing an employee-board member in the Netherlands capitol. In contrast the union says that there was never an official complaint. The appropriate international labour-court has already clearly stated, that intern employee differences have to be handled among each other, without interference of the agencies management.

In January during an disciplinary inquiry against three union workers (which seemed to have spied on a special investigation unit) Battistelli imposed strict sanctions: Suepo leader Elizabeth Hardon and her predecessor Ion Brumme were laid off, additionally the treasurer was degraded. Suepo fears now that the intention behind this blow is “to destroy” the union. As foreign institution, German law is not applicable to the EPA.

Unrest in the workforce

Because of unrest in the workforce the European Patent Organisation (EPO), which carries the EPA, called upon Battistelli to “lay low”. The president has to ensure that “the disciplinary enquiry not only has to be fair, it must also be perceived as such” according to the Communique. Possibilities for this are external examination or mediation.

It is stated in the document that the Frenchman has to inform the supervisory board “with appropriate detail” till after the trial and before other disciplinary enquiries. The controllers also demand suggestions to improve trust of the appropriate actions. There should be an agreement with the union “without precondition and the possibility for all topics in future discussions”.

Frenchman Battistelli is no ordinary person. There’s something irregular about him. “Regarding your latest post referring to Battistelli’s increasingly erratic
behaviour,” one source told us, “I heard that he caused something of an éclat at the AIPPI conference back in September, where he gave a speech. It seems that he was adamant that he should sit flanked by his two bodyguards at the banquet’s officials table.”

Our source for this said it is better to treat this as gossip, but either way, it would not be the first time we heard such stories (or worse). Some we cannot even publish as it would jeopardise sources.

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