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12.31.16

2016: The Year EPO Staff Went on Strike, Possibly “Biggest Ever Strike in the History of the EPO.”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The day of strike, the 7th of April (2016), also had this poster with a list of requests.

EPO strike

Summary: A look back at a key event inside the EPO, which marked somewhat of a breaking point for Team Battistelli

THE EPO‘s management lies. It lies a lot. It kept telling the media that only a disgruntled minority was complaining and that there were no strikes (saying nothing about a lot of protests in 2015). Battistelli is an emperor of lies, the Liar in Chief as we often call him, and his staff generally knows this. Almost every sentence that comes out of his mouth these days contains at least one lie.

At the beginning of the year, after Battistelli had showered the media with money (EPO’s budget, not his), one could come across bogus claims that only few employees were causing all the noise and yielding negative publicity for the Office. This lie needed to be debunked and the erroneous claims tackled convincingly enough. That’s why an anonymous individual or group initiated a call for strike and the strike’s result was later advertised as follows:

Dear colleagues

As we write this, the final numbers for the strike on 7 April are not yet known, but it seems possible that it was the biggest ever strike in the history of the EPO. This is an amazing result and it shows what is possible when colleagues committed to the future of our office work together.

Our goal, as initiators of the strike, was to counter the President’s claim that only “a small minority of staff” were against him and his “reforms”. Thanks to you, we achieved that goal resoundingly. Today, there can be no doubt that across the entire EPO, people are profoundly angry about what is happening. On 7 April 2016, staff of the EPO said unmistakably that they will never accept injustice against colleagues, or abusive rules and regulations. We are sure the Administrative Council was listening. The ball is now in their court. Our thanks go to each and every staff member who went on strike!

Your colleagues,

The initiators of the strike on 7 April

We already published a lot of letters about this at the time. One letter which we never published was sent to Battistelli himself. The letter laid out 4 points and now, at the end of the year, we can say with certainty that Battistelli has fulfilled not even one of the conditions. Here is the letter:

Open Letter

Mr Benoît Battistelli
President of the EPO

ISAR – R.1081

cc.: Administrative Council

Notification of a strike

Dear Mr President,

Ms Bergot announced in her publication to staff dated 8 March 2016 the result of the strike ballot organised by the Office: Staff has voted in favour of a strike. Following this decision to start a strike, we inform you of the following.

Grounds for having to resort to the strike

No essential progress has been made on Staff’s claims as expressed in the call for strike entitled “Lawfulness at the EPO” that you received on 10 February 2016:

• the immediate suspension of the disciplinary measures against the three staff representatives
• a truly independent review of the cases against the staff representatives by a body that enjoys the full trust of both the management and the staff of the EPO
• the revocation of all recent changes to the Service Regulations and their implementing texts concerning the legal framework, …
• the initiation of open and fair negotiations between management and staff representatives, led by an internationally recognised mediator/conciliator.

Calendar and EPO sites concerned

The initiators of the call for strike have informed us that they would like the strike to happen at the earliest opportunity. Accordingly, the strike shall take place on 7 April 2016 at all sites of employment: Munich, The Hague, Berlin and Vienna.

Please be assured that the Central Staff Committee has always been prepared to enter a fair social dialogue and continues to be so. The CSC recognises the recent resolution of the AC as a positive signal and a step into the right direction. If social dialogue in the time before the strike day leads to a substantial progress on the grounds for strike, we are willing to recommend to Staff to cancel the strike action.

Yours sincerely,

The Central Staff Committee

We confirm that this letter was legitimately decided and produced by the Central Staff Committee 1.

_______________
1 Pursuant to Article 35(3) ServRegs, the Central Staff Committee shall consist of ten full and ten alternate members.

The CSC presently consists of 9 full and 8 alternate members, because two have resigned in December 2014, one has been dismissed in January 2016 (against the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee) and one refused replacement of a full member against Article 7(3) of Circular 355.

One full member of the CSC has been downgraded in Jan 2016 (against the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee). In fact, the Office has launched investigations and disciplinary procedures against several other Staff representatives as well, affecting negatively their health.

[...]

cc.: Mr Tobias Kirchgessner, Lawyer of the initiators of the strike “Lawfulness at the EPO”

Suffice to say, as Battistelli has done not a single thing to improve things, all those who went on strike probably continue to distrust Battistelli and disapprove his regime. A lot of those who did not go on strike probably just feared retribution, as we explained at the time (there was no opportunity for anonymity for those who participated in the strike).

2016 was another slide down a steep hill for Battistelli and his goons. 2017 will be no better until more people like Minnoye gradually exit. There is no room for peace at the EPO as long as megalomania or perception of omnipotence persists at the very top.

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