11.21.20

Inside the EPO During Corona: SUEPO (EPO Staff Union) and the Central Staff Committee Blast the Office for Illegal Practices and Threaten Legal Action

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO is breaking the employees’ bank to feed the management's gambling addiction

Green Piggy Bank

Summary: The Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) and the Central Staff Committee (CSC) are escalating their tone; the management of the Office and the Organisation is running out of time as staff loses its patience and its tolerance for the repeated abuses by the administration

BACK in September, as cases of COVID-19 were starting to increase/rebound across western Europe, the Central Executive Committee of the EPO’s union (SUEPO) wrote to the EPO’s chiefs (Chairman of the Administrative Council and the person whom he pretends to be bossing).

“It cannot be overstated; these letters are relatively polite and diplomatic ways of conveying something very severe in an Office where staff is threatened and staff representatives are gagged with menacing letters from Benoît Battistelli loyalists.”The timing of publication of this letter (an open letter circulated among staff) is noteworthy for a number of reasons, partly because of the meeting of the Administrative Council and partly because of another letter — one we’ll come to later. Here’s the letter in full, threatening impending legal action over the Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) — incidentally justified by a "hoax study" connected to a far-right-feeding family (to quote an article from the next batch of Daily Links: “Parler was founded in 2018 by two computer programmers named John Matze and Jared Thomson, and is financially backed by Rebekah Mercer, whose father is Robert Mercer. Robert Mercer is the co-founder of Cambridge Analytica and a hedge fund manager. He’s also a major funder of Breitbart.”):

9 September 2020
su20033cl – 0.2.1/0.3.1/4.2.2/5.1

Open Letter

To: Mr António Campinos; President of the EPO
CC: Mr Josef Kratochvíl; Chairman of the Administrative Council

Avoiding mass-appeals against the new Salary Adjustment Procedure

Dear Mr. Campinos,

With CA/D 4/201 the Administrative Council adopted an amended Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP), despite strong opposition from staff and its representatives.

The first effects of this new procedure are now visible: de facto we are without an SAP for the 2nd half of this year, and the adjustment over 2019, normally due for July, was not carried out.

SUEPO is preparing the corresponding legal actions, which we will need to launch before the end of September. Since this new SAP is to the detriment of all staff, SUEPO intends to invite all staff to start with filing the upcoming Request for Review, and further legal actions as needed.

However, in an attempt to avoid flooding the administration with lots of Requests, Appeals etc., SUEPO is prepared to identify a few key stakeholders, and pursue the legal route with only these few appellants – provided that we have a commitment from the President of the EPO that the final outcome of this legal route will be applied to all staff.

Given the time required to inform staff and allow them to file the first requests before the end of September, we look forward to receiving your answer to this request by Friday, 18th of September, close of business. In the absence of any clear reply from your services, we will see ourselves forced to invite staff to massively show their discontent and file the Request for Review.

Yours sincerely,

Joachim Michels
Chairman of SUEPO Central

_____
1 Link to CA/D 4/20

Those who have been following recent SUEPO publications would not be surprised by this, seeing the growing anger and sense of betrayal.

Lawsuits for Christmas?

Christmas wreath“Mr Campinos pushed his reform of the Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) despite the absence of any financial gap at the EPO,” SUEPO told members of the union. “The first effects of this new procedure are now visible: de facto staff is without an SAP for the 2nd half of 2020, and the adjustment over 2019, normally due for July, was not carried out. [...] In this letter dated 9 September, SUEPO has requested a commitment from Mr Campinos that the final outcome of this legal route will be applied to all staff. Until now, the letter remains unanswered.”

Of course. As usual. SUEPO said that nearly a fortnight after the letter had been sent.

Chairman of the Central Staff Committee (CSC) Alain Dumont wrote to the President of the European Patent Office, António Campinos, the following letter. Reminder: it’s very important to bear in mind that the Committee (CSC) tends to be a lot softer and more diplomatic/polite than the union for obvious reasons (its role inside the office), so when taken into account the tone of this letter is quite strong:

Reference: sc20146cl – 0.3.1/4.2.2
Date: 01.10.2020

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO

ISAR – Room 1081

OPEN LETTER

Implementation of Article 1 of CA/D 4/20

Dear Mr President,

On 30 June 2020, the Administrative Council took the decision CA/D 4/20 amending with effect from 1 July 2020 the Implementing Rule for Article 64 of the Service Regulations for permanent and other employees of the European Patent Office and winding up the 2014 salary adjustment procedure. Article 1 of this decision foresees:

(1) Any remainder of an adjustment within the meaning of Article 8(2) of the salary adjustment procedure applicable from 2014 to 2020 that has not been absorbed over the subsequent adjustments will be used to adjust the scales used for the purpose of calculating the next adjustment.

(2) Where the moderation clause applied, the amounts resulting from the delayed adjustment will be paid out as a lump sum to the employees and pensioners concerned.

Notwithstanding the legality and lawfulness of the above decision and its implementation, which is currently a matter of dispute between employees of the European Patent Office and the Organisation, the Central Staff Committee would like to ask you to inform staff about when said adjustments of the scales and said payment of lump sums will be made.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

This letter is dated October.

“In this open letter,” the CSC wrote in its address to staff, “we ask the President when he will proceed to the outstanding adjustments of the scales and payment of lump sums in order to implement Article 1 of decision CA/D 4/20.” (“Winding up the former salary adjustment procedure: Adjustments of scales and payment of lump sums”).

It cannot be overstated; these letters are relatively polite and diplomatic ways of conveying something very severe in an Office where staff is threatened and staff representatives are gagged with menacing letters from Benoît Battistelli loyalists. Given the 0% trust rate in the Council and just 3% trust rate in the President (that’s like one person in a whole classroom of pupils!), it seems safe to say that Campinos has run out of time and out of favour. Expect things to get more combative. We’ve already seen more recent correspondence and we’re deciding how to disclose it and when. Readers who can offer more information and insights likely know how to contact us. We’d love to hear from insiders.

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