11.10.20

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Inside the EPO During Corona: ‘Sick’ António Campinos Uses a Global Sickness to Illegally Rob EPO Staff, Already Besieged by the Pandemic

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:42 pm by Guest Editorial Team

How One Family’s Deep Pockets Helped Reshape Donald Trump’s CampaignSummary: The merciless António Campinos keeps lying to staff (citing a notorious ‘study’ from Donald Trump’s friend) and working behind staff’s backs to crush their financial stability; the following letter was sent by the Central Staff Committee back in March (at the same time the UK had just entered nationwide lock-down)

THE lock-down ‘wave’ across Europe is putting in jeopardy not only the physical health of millions but also the mental health of an order of magnitude more. Those who still managed to keep their job (usually by working from home) aren’t exactly calm; the risk of losing one’s job is real, it is growing over time, and it’s getting harder and harder to seek alternative employment to catch up/keep up with one’s mortgage payments, student debt or whatnot.

“…the risk of losing one’s job is real, it is growing over time, and it’s getting harder and harder to seek alternative employment to catch up/keep up with one’s mortgage payments, student debt or whatnot.”The EPO is a rich organisation, so there’s no real excuse for Benoît Battistelli‘s friend to continue crushing the staff in the financial sense (let/set aside other aspects of this crushing).

Here’s what staff representatives wrote to Campinos, citing relevant documents for factual backing/support:

Reference: sc20051cl – 0.3.1/4.2.2
Date: 24.03.2020

Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO

ISAR – Room 1081

OPEN LETTER

Discussions on the salary adjustment procedure

Dear Mr President,

A draft new salary adjustment procedure was sent to the WG GCC SSPR on 20 March 2020, still following the approach spelling conflict with staff for the entire duration of its application. In this letter, the Central Staff Committee would like to highlight the biggest flaw (Article 9) and proposes a way forward.

Your proposal is not viable (many technical and legal problems, and no acceptance by staff). Article 9 (affordability clause) is an infamous mechanism continuously cutting the purchasing power of active staff and pensioners. It is certainly not what your staff from whom you expect so many efforts, also at times of a pandemic, deserves. It would be perceived as adding insult to injury. The proposal is as such not acceptable as it

- does not fulfil the minimum criteria for a Salary Adjustment Procedure in an International Organisation;
- violates1 Article 33 of the European Patent Convention;
- wilfully distorts all statistics provided by Eurostat and ISRP after approval of the national statisticians2 and
- will further erode competitiveness of EPO salaries and more generally its attractiveness.

______
1 See footnote on page 13 of the presentation by Mercer dated 16 March 2020: “Pending assessment by Legal regarding compatibility with EPC and Service Regulations”. The Office also seems to have realised that their own proposed methodology is not only very complex, but involves legal risks. We are wondering whether the legal assessment has been carried out in DG 4 or DG 5 and whether it can be communicated to us.
2 We advise again that you have your proposal urgently checked by expert statisticians at Eurostat or ISRP.


In other words, your proposal is not fit for the purpose of adapting the salaries in the second biggest and very successful European Organisation. We urge you to reconsider this article in particular and to enter into the good faith discussion with the staff representation, which is not the case so far.

At this point in time we see two options that we could support to get out of this impasse. You could consider postponing

1. the discussion by one year. In view of Article 10 of the Salary Adjustment Procedure, this would be no problem. It would reassure staff that you are not trying to unfairly take advantage of the current pandemic. It would also be in line with what national governments do under such circumstances, see for instance the decision of the French President to suspend the implementation of a pension reform.

2. the submission of a CA document for decision on the matter to the October meeting of the Administrative Council (AC). Pending this, we inform you that in case of agreement on a salary adjustment procedure, we are ready to give also a positive opinion in the GCC to one additional Article that you are proposing provided it is modified as laid out in the Annex. In other words we would agree to postponing implementation of the adjustments from 1 July to 1 January on a yearly basis (as was done in the Co-ordinated Organisations 27 years ago) provided a compensation for this postponement is implemented in the form of an adjustment of the salary and pension scales (as was also done in the Co-ordinated Organisations3).

This would address any perceived difficulty for management to adopt a new salary adjustment procedure in October with retroactive effect. It would allow extending the discussions to be ready for a decision at the October meeting of the Administrative Council and thus maintain your original time-frame, without staff feeling abused by keeping the June Council for decision.

Both options above would allow you to continue the discussion with us in a more serene atmosphere and on the basis of the basic principles which we have expressed, i.e. a temporary limitation of the adjustment for a determined period and the inclusion of a sharpened exception clause that would trigger in the event of a crisis. We are ready to discuss both the intensity and the duration of such mechanisms, as we already stated. However, by essence these mechanisms (moderation and exception clauses) should be based exclusively on the specific

______
3
CCR/R(93)5, see Article 17

Article 17


indicator, as the latter is the element in a salary adjustment procedure that adjusts the purchasing power uniformly in all places of employment and for pensioners.

The mechanisms that your advisors have been proposing so far are distorting the basic figures provided by the ISRP and Eurostat, rendering correction mechanisms unnecessarily complex, wilfully failing to conform with the provided statistics, and being legally unsafe and socially unacceptable. The EPO would therefore vastly deviate from all other comparable International Organisations in Europe (EU and Co-ordinated Organisations) in such a sensitive area. Is this your mandate?

The consultants have just provided an additional document on 23 March 2020 showing that the solutions we propose have the potential of achieving the savings you are looking for whilst preserving the essential principles on which staff cannot compromise.

You have the chance to depart from your predecessor’s regulation and implementation policy, thereby succeeding in re-establishing social dialogue according to mandate and being seen as the President fully trusting staff to be able to carry it out.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Sampels
Acting Chairman of the Central Staff Committee


ANNEX

CHAPTER VIII

OTHER ARRANGEMENTS

Article ..

Compensatory adjustment at 1 July 2020

Salary scales shall be adjusted at 1 July 2020 by a percentage equal to half of the average weighted trend in Harmonised Index for Consumer Prices for the European Union for the period 1 July 2019 – 1 July 2020 as provided by Eurostat.


The above contains many acronyms, but it’s self-contained in the sense that people who aren’t familiar with EPO affairs can mostly catch up. As the Central Staff Committee put it at the time, more concisely (citing the Donald Trump-connected Mercer ‘study’):

Following the flawed Financial Study of Oliver Wyman and Mercer, Mr Campinos is still putting measure 1 on the table for approval in the coming June council. His proposal is not viable (many technical and legal problems) and provides a mechanism for continuously cutting the purchasing power of active staff and pensioners. It is certainly not what staff deserves after the massive efforts expected at times of a pandemic. It would be perceived as adding insult to injury. In view of the coming discussions, the Central Staff Committee (CSC) has sent Mr Campinos an open letter available here.

There’s a similar passage or paragraph in the letter. For those who wish to know more about the notorious ‘study’, read this.

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