Despite the Silence, EPO Staff May be More Repressed Than Ever, Hope is Being Lost

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hype versus hope

Hope Dies Last

Summary: Insider confessions and testimonies (from staff, union, representatives) reveal a rather grim picture of what goes on in the underbelly of EPOnia (while media totally turns a blind eye to it*)

THE Benoît Battistelli calamity isn’t a thing of the past (or legacy) but a thing of the present. António Campinos continues Battistelli’s job…

The European Patent Office (EPO) no longer mentions the staff’s dissatisfaction; they hope nobody notices and believe that can carry on bribing and blackmailing media that mentions this. Techrights has been blocked for 2 years by Campinos (not so effective a block when people work from home) and later he’ll wonder why only 3% of the staff trusts him (even people whom he met in person and sat down with). The EPO’s fear of facts and truth is rather revealing and reminiscent of the Nazi Party.

Techrights has been blocked for 2 years by Campinos (not so effective a block when people work from home) and later he’ll wonder why only 3% of the staff trusts him (even people whom he met in person and sat down with).”“Very good,” a source told us regarding our coverage of EPO internal affairs, noting that there “there are still a few brave people in [the patent] office.”

SUEPO Observer, we’re told, was published this month for the first time since 2014, i.e. six years ago.

“A lot is happening behind the scenes,” the source added, “behind the EPO’s seemingly so clean facade, but unfortunately, thanks to censorship very little little to nothing is made public today.”

Among the trends: “Attack / censorship of the trade unions, attack on the right to strike, repression, harassment / bullying, destruction of working conditions, reform of salaries and pensions, reform of the BoA, suppression of the audit committees, lack of transparency, lack of clear future strategy, complete failure of the president to maneuver / guide the office through the Covid19 era … should I continue? The list has now become endless, and with it the list of frustrations and demotivation of employees and their affected families.”

“So-called ‘reforms’ that are just further attacks on the EPO’s staff.”About the union and staff representatives (not the same thing, albeit overlaps exist): “The social dialogue with the staff representatives and the trade unionists has come to a complete standstill, to put it simple, there is NO DIALOGUE. One wonders if there was ever a dialogue since Mr Campinos took over the presidency, right? Or was it all just a smokescreen designed to blind the members of the Board of Directors at their meeting at the end of June? Is it just a matter of letting the reforms happen?”

So-called ‘reforms’ that are just further attacks on the EPO’s staff. By extension, these attacks are directed at staff everywhere; they lower the bar, universally, by extrapolation and example/precedence.

Our source continued: “See the [below] illustration of Campinos related to the upcoming Administrative Council meeting at the end of June, titled “Come to Daddy!”

Come to Daddy

We apologise in advance if this offends some of our readers; we didn’t make this graphic, but it circulates inside the Office and explains the staff’s sentiments. There’s no oversight, only complicity.

As for SUEPO? Earlier this month it issued the following appeal for support:

Unions in Corona times

Unite and be stronger together! A typical union motto (not to be mistaken with the “strong together” slogan currently used in management’s communication). But how can we get together if we can’t gather physically in these pandemic times? Even floor meetings are currently no longer possible. And the floors are rather empty these days… How can we reach out to you if nobody is out there?

We miss feedback from you. Interaction is difficult, and without interaction – is there a way for action? It is obvious that Covid-19 represents a huge challenge to union work.

A picketed strike for instance sounds like a joke today. Demonstrations outside the Office are not possible either, as local authorities do not allow them for the moment.

We are in a weak position organisationally, and the administration is simply taking advantage of it. But there will be a price to pay: Staff will be further disconnected. Identification of staff with the goals of the Office, loyalty to the organisation, motivation will erode further. And instead of building up trust and create unity in the circumstances of a general crisis, the office continues to disrespect staff and derail social dialogue. Sadly, our bosses missed an opportunity to behave like true leaders!

What can we do? Feedback and support from your side is paramount for SUEPO. For example, a high participation in the ballot for the Staff Committee elections and a strong support for the candidates of the SUEPO list is an important signal you can give!

Please get back to your union and share your concerns, needs, and expectations. We are open to all possible form of collective actions. Please share your ideas with us. Our only strength is our ability to act collectively against damaging reforms. Only by being united will we be able to defend our rights and working conditions!

What started with our opposition to software patents in Europe (well before 35 U.S.C. § 101 in the US) has turned into something rather creepy. Now we deal with attacks on human rights, on constitutions and on the rule of law. Our next post will deal with the latest stunning developments regarding UPC. Germany reveals itself to be little better than so-called ‘banana republics’, not just by turning a blind eye to human right abuses at the EPO but by ignoring its very own constitutional court. Maybe there’s a German ‘Trump’ waiting around the corner, even if just to ‘foster’ dialogue. Who with? Nationalists perhaps, not compassionate unionists.
* When the media itself is failing, great harm can and will be caused. “Germans,” as this page explains, “increasingly could not reconcile official news stories with reality, and many turned to foreign radio broadcasts for accurate information. With moviegoers beginning to reject the newsreels as blatant propaganda, Goebbels even ordered theaters to lock their doors before projecting the weekly episode, forcing viewers to watch it if they wanted to see the feature film.”

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