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11.11.18

Guest Post: EPO Spins Censorship of Staff Representation

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another concrete example of Campinos’ cynical story-telling

THE FOLLOWING is composed/presented as two parts. The first is a reader’s response to the second, which is spin from António Campinos, published after censoring SUEPO's E-mails.


The situation prior to Battistelli

Under all EPO presidents, CSC/LSC as well as SUEPO could send the messages they wanted with no limitation (obviously they never spammed EPO staff with silly contents, much less aggressive messages since it is not EPO’s culture and it would have fired back).

There was no problem.

The situation under Battistelli

Battistelli rapidly feared that staff reps/SUEPO could issue to staff reasoned and substantiated critiques exposing his wrongdoing. He then decided to ban mass emails of both CSC/LSC and SUEPO, based on fake motives: Elodie Bergot (HR) falsely accused staff reps/SUEPO of sending defamatory contents or aggressive emails, but surprisingly no one was ever disciplined for an aggressive/defamatory message sent to staff via mass emails (and you best believe that if staff reps/SUEPO officials had sent something truly defamatory or insulting, Bergot would have disciplined them ASAP as sanctioning staff is her hobby).

The situation under Campinos

Campinos now wants EPO staff and the public to believe he re-establishes communication channels only without doing it.

Interesting aspects of his communiqué:

1 – it is limited to CSC/LSC = it thus excludes SUEPO (the union representing half of EPO staff) which emails remains banned within the EPO.

2 – it is limited to TWO (2) messages/year (don’t laugh) and only to call for general assemblies (something which occurs about twice a year).

The communication ban remains intact and impedes not only the communication but de facto the daily work of staff reps/SUEPO as they cannot properly inform staff on the very issues which concern them e.g. top managerial decisions, planned reforms etc.

3 – this “change” is on trial for one year (again don’t laugh). So the ban is not only not lifted but the tiny “improvement” can even be reversed.

4 – Campinos suggests that receiving mass email from CSC/LSC (who are elected by staff) would be an intrusion amounting to spam: how nice of him!

Conclusion

Nothing has changed at EPO so far. Actually it is quite pathetic to see Campinos being manipulated by Elodie Bergot (HR) and her husband Gilles Requena, head of Campinos’ presidential cabinet. They are hijacking the EPO. Campinos wants staff to believe he is the boss, but everyone starts to understand that he is only a puppet at the hands of the infernal duo.


Communication means for Staff Representation

05.11.2018

Certain mass emails permitted

Dear Colleagues,

Today I want to inform you that we will be allowing Staff Representatives to send mass emails for certain purposes.

In the scope of our regular discussions, staff representatives have requested authorisation to send mass emails to all staff. Currently, they have a wide range of methods to communicate, such as dedicated intranet pages, RSS feeds and notice boards, among others. However, the ability to send mass emails is not one of them, as a result of our IT policy.

One of my strategic priorities is to enhance dialogue across the Office. If we are truly going to do that, we have to recognise that emails in certain situations are necessary, especially if we want to support Staff Representatives in reaching out to staff so they can represent them effectively. Allowing this possibility would also respect freedom of speech and freedom of association and “contribute to the smooth running of the service by providing a channel for the expression of opinion by the staff”, as cited in our Service Regulations.

As a result, the CSC and each Local Staff Committee will be permitted to send invitations to their assemblies by mass email.

I should underline that this is not an entirely new measure. Some of my predecessors had authorised staff representatives to send mass emails. However, this was withdrawn in view of what was then deemed to be inappropriate use, in terms of volume and offensive content. We have to recognise that while Representatives enjoy a large freedom of expression and criticism, communications have to respect fundamental principles, such as respect of personal data, rights and privacy of individuals, and abstain from using language that could be seen as insulting, offensive or humiliating towards any third party.

The measure will therefore be implemented as a pilot for one year, which we hope will prove to be successful and constructive. Specifically, invitations can be sent for two of their respective assemblies to all staff at the workplace where assemblies are due to take place.

For some of you, like me, receiving mass emails may be seen as intrusive and perhaps not the most appropriate medium to communicate internally with our colleagues. However, at this stage, the possibility to send invitations by email is seen as an effective way in which Staff representatives can invite you to learn more about their activities and follow their progress in social dialogue – goals I support entirely.

António Campinos
President

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