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10.09.20

EPO Management is Making Patent Examiners Poorer and Shuts Out the Union

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Orange virus, Orange Battistelli

Reform of the education allowance

Summary: Sitting on billions of euros it was never supposed to even keep (and which it is still illegally placing/betting on a risky gamble), EPO management proceeds to pillaging and plundering EPO staff some more (knowing it’s virtually impossible to gather and protest during a pandemic that is re-surging across Europe)

THE other day an EPO insider, concerned about Team Campinos acting like the bullies of Benoît Battistelli, shared very harshly-worded communication that not only talks down but also threatens staff. This isn’t how you get your staff motivated; it’s how you get people stressed, sometimes depressed, possibly contemplating suicide.

“This isn’t how you get your staff motivated; it’s how you get people stressed, sometimes depressed, possibly contemplating suicide.”“Reform of the education allowance,” we’re now told, is underway. It’s more of an ‘act of abolishment’/abolition, not “reform” (a euphemism of course, ‘fostering’ the president’s longstanding propaganda war).

“Here is a document that was published yesterday on the non-public area of the The Hague website,” a source told us. “It clearly shows that the EPO management has no interest in continuing the social dialogue with the largest union in Office.”

We’ve converted it into HTML as follows:

8 October 2020
su20014hp

Reform of the Education Allowance – SUEPO is not invited to the negotiation table

Dear SUEPO Members,
Dear colleagues,

On 03-08-2020 we sent this Open Letter1 to the President, to which he replied on 31-08-2020. We understand from this reply that the intended Education and Childcare reform envisages redistribution of allowances in a harmonized manner, office wide.

The President mentions in his letter that a working group established at the Staff Representation level is the only official forum for discussion. We do not dispute this statement. Indeed, the discussion is under the responsibility of Staff Representation, whereas the Union is responsible for negotiating with management the terms and conditions of a reform. This main difference is evidently known and we do regret that the EPO management is not willing to negotiate with SUEPO The Hague, the larger Union in the EPO, when at the same time it appears management is sitting with FFPE2, which – as the last (several) Staff Representation elections have evidently illustrated – has minimal support in The Hague. The way management addresses the two unions is not only a case of different treatment, it is a clear avoidance of the major EPO social partner, which steers away from a successful reform.

In fact, the general ideas presented in the Education and Childcare Reform publication in the intranet created a cry out in most of the places of employment. Colleagues are confused, can’t understand the why’s, “what for” and “why now”, and induced a substantial – and unnecessary – wave of stress among these colleagues. This unfortunate situation would have been avoided should SUEPO have been involved in the plans of reform. On the opposite, choosing to exclude the larger stakeholder leads the EPO to a difficult political and social situation. We do regret that EPO centralised management style has mislead – yet again – a reform which was stated as intended to be fair. But even worse, we fear that insisting in excluding SUEPO The Hague from the table will only deepen the bias towards a Munich-centralised vision.

In this sense, SUEPO The Hague is of the impression that the administration did not inform the President fully on the costs of a crèche, the need of after school care and its costs, the fact that on average the yearly school fees in The Hague are 14.200 euros whereas the European School of Munich costs 16.700 euros. What else was omitted? This is unfortunate yet entirely avoidable. Nevertheless, it’s the Presidents call to choose which sources of information he wishes to hear.

Meanwhile, the propaganda machine continues unabated3 and makes it seem as if all is pink and fluffy in social-dialogue-land. Read carefully: your staff representatives that participate in the Working Group, and the colleagues that
showed their discontent by e-mail are still waiting for a first concrete sign that indeed the Office proposal was a mere “draft initial” proposal and that site-specific conditions will be looked at. For now, the administration seems adamant to solely start discussing transitional measures – but this only makes sense once we know where we are heading. If you take the train, you want to know up-front whether you’re heading to Novosibirsk or rather Barcelona to decide what to put in your luggage…

SUEPO regrets to see that social dialogue has remained just a title and in fact still does not represent a different approach to solve arising tribulations, something SUEPO and staff are anxiously awaiting.

Your SUEPO Committee
_____
1 Open Letter on Changes to the Education Allowance
2 As evidenced by an intranet publication on 23-09-2020 – note that it is not clear who is the author / responsible of this publication?
3 Cf. intranet publication of 05-10-2020: Update on social dialogue

“The destruction of the EPO continues cheerfully,” our source noted, “all at the expense of the patent holders and ultimately the staff.”

There’s talk about EPO management dismantling the EPO and laying off many examiners in the process. Because when you don’t care about patent quality who needs examination anyway, right? Right?

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