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03.01.18

Élodie Bergot Threatens Staff Representatives Who Spread Information About the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent releases of old material:

Élodie Bergot’s HR Roadmap Explained by EPO Staff Representatives

Raw: Battistelli, Topić and Bergot Are Stonewalling Until Staff Representatives Speak to EPO Staff

Raw: Battistelli’s Circle (Topić and Bergot) Undermines Justice at the European Patent Office

MoU signed by Bergot
Battistelli, Topić and Bergot

Summary: Team Battistelli (the wife of Battistelli’s old colleague in this case) again reprimands elected staff representatives for doing their job, which is representing and informing EPO staff

WE recently wrote about how EPO management was silencing staff representatives like it had silenced the union (not quite the same thing). With rumours about layoffs the censorship at the EPO appears to have escalated even further.

We now have better understanding of how the latest censorship came about. It’s evident based on the letter below:

Mr Joachim Michels
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

By email: centralSTCOM@epo.org

[from]

European Patent Office
80298 Munich
Germany

PD 4.3
Human Resources

Elodie Berget
Principal Director

Tel. +49 (0)89 2399 • 4300
ebergot@epo.org

Date: 21.02.2018

Your request dated 19 February 2018 to upload an article on the CSC intranet page

Dear Mr Michels,

Reference is made to your request dated 19 February 2018 to upload an article on the CSC intranet page entitled “Human resources Management – new(s)”. I note that copies of the document in question have already been distributed following the LSC General Assembly in The Hague.

First, I would like to recall that the Office expressly acknowledges the large freedom of expression the staff representatives enjoy. Staff representatives might comment, question and criticize reforms, reorganisations and social policies. It is however noted that the proposed publication contains not only inaccurate but also offensive and if not defamatory statements against managers and colleagues. The strong accusations related notably to a supposed lack of ethics, bias, arbitrariness, violation of duty of care, undue pressure and lack of humanity cannot be accepted and are considered to be unfair attacks against the professionalism and the dignity of individuals. Additionally, despite a previous reminder, the CSC is again relaying information to all staff concerning an employee’s personal situation, which should, as such, be treated with confidentiality.

In this respect, it is recalled that according to the rules, staff representatives shall represent the interests of all staff and maintain suitable contacts with the Administration. It shall also contribute to the smooth running of the service by providing a channel for the expression of opinion.

However, far from defending the interest of the staff, this kind of publication coupled with the anonymous report circulated by staff representatives regarding the working group on modernisation of the employment framework generate suspicion and unjustified disquiet among staff. This is even more so regrettable that, in fact, the discussions within the Working Group were quite constructive and allowed a serious exchange of views.

Consequently, and in view of the above, you might wish to review the content of the proposed publication and delete or modify the parts that are offensive to individuals. Please inform accordingly Internal communication services. Finally, EPO management and myself remain willing to discuss the content of this communication with staff representation. In the meantime, however, the CSC is requested to abstain from spreading this communication further within other fora (internal and external).

Yours sincerely,

Elodie Bergot
Principal Director Human Resources

Long story short, Team Battistelli wants to control all staff communications and thus also know who says what, in order to facilitate retribution at times when layoffs are the ‘canteen gossip’. This is a form of McCarthyism and it makes the EPO look worse than we already know it is. Years ago the EPO blocked access to Techrights (using the same pretexts as above) and we certainly hope that European authorities pay attention to this unprecedented crackdown not only on labour rights but human rights too.

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