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06.04.19

António Campinos “Will Have the First Strike on His Hands and Learn That If He Goes Down on This Path He May be Even More Despised Than Battistelli.”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How One Family’s Deep Pockets Helped Reshape Donald Trump’s Campaign

Summary: Things are already boiling over at Munich, which has every right to be furious at the new boss, who contracts the Mercers (to bash/rob his staff) and offers 40,000,000 euros to Third Reich goons

THE European Patent Office’s (EPO) President, António Campinos, barely lasted a year without blowing it. That’s a lot worse than Battistelli did. Campinos not only promotes software patents in Europe; he cracks down on staff a lot faster than Battistelli did. It’s like he plans to shut down the Office with help from the Donald Trump-connected Mercer. It’s no secret that the Mercers deserve much of the credit for Trump becoming President. Campinos fakes crises (of his own choosing, taking their full toll on examiners alone).

“It’s like he plans to shut down the Office with help from the Donald Trump-connected Mercer.”No sober President would go down this path. Not a sober one. Does he know he’s about to give 40,000,000 euros to a controversial if not notorious (even among its own staff) Third Reich firm? That would be suicidal for Campinos. Judging by this thread which was removed (PDF copy made here [PDF]), the EPO may have a serious scandal in its hands, one that could entail sacking of the President. There’s more on this topic coming and here’s what the original message in the thread said (it’s allegedly about Campinos):

Apparently today on Monday 27/05/2019 a VIP passenger had to be involuntarily removed from Lufthansa flight MUC – BRU after excessive alcohol consumption.

The Captain aborted takeoff and informed the passengers that a VIP was going to have to be removed for disorderly conduct. In the meantime the crew had contacted law enforcement (Polizei). He/she was finally removed from the aircraft. The plane had already been held up waiting for the VIP to arrive.

I’m highly interested in this incident, if you have more information (preferably with source) then do not hesitate to send me a pm. Thank you!

Luxair

More on this story soon.

About an hour after our publication someone posted this comment: “Looks like someone needs to check on the EPO’s use of its liquid assets… Drunk and disorderly during core business time … could that possibly be a disciplinary matter?”

Watch also the prior comments:

This time last year people looked with hope to the coming EPO president. After the abysmal performance of the previous president there was a wave of expectation that the new one would at least make some cosmetic changes, if not dismantle the nepotistic and corrupt Battistelli system. He met with more than 100 examiners in 20-minute breakfast discussions in which he certainly heard all the staff´s grievances so one cannot say that he did not have all the information needed. After some months he replaced the VPs and the staff were waiting for positive changes. What came out was nothing less than disastrous. A financial report on outright wrong assumptions stating that the EPO finances were in dire straits and, on an organisational level, the introduction of a pilot project on collaboration among the members of the examining division, another bureaucratic measure with no practical result.
The report led Campinos to propose the sale of one of the representative downtown Munich buildings (?!) while keeping the rental accomodation of the Board of Appeal staff outside Munich in Haar.
The lack of ideas and the unwillingness of the Campinos management to tackle the real problems of the office and come up with real solutions have lead to a general assessment that Campinos may be even less suited to lead the EPO than Battistelli. That is a performance!
It´s hard to understand the fractured logic behind the administration´s thinking. On the one side they brag about the impressive year-on-year results, on the other side they claim the finances are dire (probably in order to impose new salary and pension cuts).
But the waiting time is gone. He will have the first strike on his hands and learn that if he goes down on this path he may be even more despised than Battistelli.

Another one:

223 mio Euros wasted on IT projects: the managers are not held responsible but get a full retirement.
Quality of searches and grants hits rock bottom but the COO’s still occupy their position.
A catastrophic social survey but the HR principal director is still there.
A financial study apparently made by a company who apparently has no knowledge of simple bookkeeping.
A building project that will cost 700 mio Euros but is useful for the EPO’s building portfolio.
Welcome to the EPO, a real model organization.
Dear EPO staff, it is time you strike for your rights and stop the managerial incompetence!

About the notorious buildings shuffle (a slap across the face of staff that hardly endures never-ending cuts):

Selling Munich BT VII must be done with haste and speed, before the EBA decides whether Haar is “Munich”…
Because if they decide the move was not legal within the framework of the EPC, then they will still not be able to move back, because the EPO has no room for them!
Thereby creating another fait accompli…

And the building will be sold below price to a manager of a portfolio, who.s a good friend, and if the EBA decides, and management against my above first guess, then the EPO must re-rent the building for a “market competitive price”, making the manager of the portfolio a man with deep pockets….

I sincerely hope the CA sees through this blatant attempt to funnel money away and set the narrative, and will now allow the sale of EPO property like this….

Te gist of the above is, staff must go on strike and the plans of Campinos are truly outrageous, maybe more so than Battistelli’s. Already circulating among staff (as early as the start of this week) is EPO-FLIER No. 47, which we reproduce below in HTML form. It says a lot about staff’s sentiments and huge damage to their health (it keeps getting a lot worse very fast):

3 June 2019

FLIER No. 47

The EPO-FLIER wants to provide staff with uncensored, independent information at times of social conflict

Reporting below the belt

The 2018 appraisal exercise was the most chaotic one in the history of the Office1. But it has also set new lows for fairness and respect for the staff. Its ruthless application has created “enormous anxiety, worry and demotivation”2 and has negatively affected the health of many employees.

Under the new career system, production targets are cascaded down through the hierarchical levels and imposed on individual employees without considering their feedback3. The setting of individual production goals has therefore become arbitrary and decoupled from realistic numbers. The inflated goals cannot be achieved while respecting the quality requirements defined by the EPC4. In order to pressurise examiners to nevertheless deliver the expected number of products, threats of dismissal have become a normal ‘staff motivation’ tool at the EPO.

From uncertain reward to underrating
The Guidance to performance assessment 20185 claimed that, in recent years, some managers had promised a reward “although they had no right to do so” – which had created undue expectations “sometimes leading to frustration”. But the 2018 reporting exercise has led to even more frustration. The Guidance is vague and has increased the uncertainty for the employees6.

While at least some directors and team managers tried to assess the 2018 performance fairly despite the conditions, there is a worrying new pattern. Many directors had set individual 2018 targets at unattainable levels and later rated the performance of those who did not reach them as (far) below the expected level. The president recently announced7 that 6% of staff are deemed to be “below the level required for the seniority and function” and “a very small minority” of less than 2% are “far below the level required.” If these figures are correct, that means some 540 colleagues, mostly examiners, have received a below or far below rating. During the EPO’s successful past, the number of negative performance ratings had always been negligibly small2. The high share of staff being assessed as underperforming in 2018 is inconsistent with the record output the EPO reached in the same year. It is incompatible with the high level of qualification of the employees, also recognised by our top management. It is also striking that, for the first time in the history of the EPO, many staff were rated (far) below expectations for a performance that was equal to the previous year or even better. Who, confronted with such unfair underrating, would be not frustrated?

The “calibration” process introduced with the 2018 appraisal exercise played a key role. During the “calibration”, VPs, COOs and PDs harmonise the reporting standards before the reporting officers draft the year-end reports and assign final individual performance ratings8. The “calibration” is an opaque process without participation of any staff representatives but fully controlled by the top

_________
1 “Rat race 3.0” Part I: Staff Reporting in the New Career System (NCS) – Total mayhem (su19006mp, 04.03.2019)
2 Performance Assessment 2018 (CSC letter to the president, 08.03.2019)
3 Although Circular 366 mentions “agreed goals” (see III.1.)
4 Only 76.6% of the European patents granted in 2018 are compliant with the EPC (down from 84.9% in 2016)
5 Signed by VP1 Stephen Rowan and published on 19.02.2019
6 Mis-Guidance to performance assessement 2018 (LSC Munich, 13.03.2019)
7 Update from the president on performance management, financial study, social dialogue and more (20.05.2019)


management. It has removed the reporting officer’s discretion in recognising performance fairly, and has led to arbitrary and unfair underrating.

By introducing the new career system, management has delinked reward from performance9. Through the “calibration”10 it has now also delinked performance rating from performance.

Impact on employees’ health and their ability to fulfil their tasks
Colleagues rated “far below” expectations are threatened with dismissal for professional incompetence1,11,12. They were hired as permanent employees and have passed a one year probationary period. Many of them have worked for years for the Office, with their skills and performance being recognised. Now, after introducing a new fast-track dismissal procedure11,12,13, management has taken them hostage. This has affected their dignity. It has exposed them to extreme stress levels and affected their sleep. It will also affect their future performance since employees being tired or paralysed by fear cannot perform well. The mid-term and long-term consequences will be more burn-out cases and chronic diseases14.

Management by fear destroys staff health, trust in management and staff engagement. It is not in the interest of the EPO and the users of its services. Applying such particularly disruptive employment practices in a structured manner is illegal in some of the member states, e.g. in France, where the former CEO of France Télécom currently stands trial 15. At the EPO, these practices might be the result of HR management incompetence. If not, they should qualify as misconduct (institutional harassment and waste of office resources) under the EPO’s current Internal Justice System (CA/D 7/17).

The way forward
Before the Office can serve the public again, it needs a new start in HR policies. But the currently responsible HR managers and COOs continue showing that they are either unwilling to be, or fundamentally incapable of being, part of that process16. It is time for President Campinos to finally allow for a genuine new start in HR policies to take place, so that he can start re-building the trust of EPO staff and the public. Considering the complete failure of HR management during the past years, this can only be achieved with new and qualified HR managers, preferably people not associated to PD HR’s legacy.

_________
8 Circular 366, II.1.1: “The PDs/VPs are responsible for the calibration process. Before the reporting officers start drafting the year-end reports, the PDs/VPs ensure that the performance review standards and methods used by the reporting and countersigning officers in their area are consistent and harmonised. They also hold calibration meetings at the end of the performance development cycle.”
9 The president insists that this shall remain the case also in the future. See for example Developments at the EPO – no real progress (su19005mp, 07.02.2019).
10 Exclusif. Soupçons de sous-notation forcée chez Sanofi. Des salariés seraient sous-évalués pour atteindre des quotas de mauvais collaborateurs fixés par la hiérarchie. (France Inter, 20.06.2017)
11 Colleagues who fail to reach their target twice are at risk of being classified incompetent and dismissed. See the CSC paper “Article 52 Service Regulations – No news, bad news?” (sc19005cp, 18.01.2019).
12 EPO staff should not be treated as ‘second-class European civil servants’, says CSC (Barney Dixon, IPPro, 22.01.2019).
13 While neither the criteria nor the legal framework of that procedure are clear11.
14 What ails us? – Or: what the Whitehall study tells us about the relationship between work and health (CSC, 14.11.2005, password needed). The number of stress-related diseases and burn-out cases has increased by 25% between 2017 and 2018: see Mr Campinos’ Staff Survey “Your voice, our future” (CSC, 08.05.2019).
15 Procès des suicides à France Télécom: une direction sourde et sans remords (Mediapart 11.05.2019), France Télécom : dix ans après les suicides, un procès « hors normes » (video)
16 See for example EPO FLIER No. 32 “Lessons to be learned“ (10.12.2017)

www.epostaff4rights.org

Some of the above citations we’ve published here before, but there are missing ones. If any of our readers can kindly send us the missing ones, we’ll gladly published them without revealing any compromising (to the source/author) information.

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