12.03.20

Censored EPO Publication: Evidence That the Censorship of EPO Staff Representation (Central Staff Committee) Started Months After António Campinos Started His Term

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO Central Staff Committee paper

Summary: Central Staff Committee representatives explained in very clear terms how Team Campinos (soon 2.5 years in the role) was — and still is — censoring representatives in an attempt to keep staff ignorant, misinformed, and afraid

THIS week we focus on suppressed and censored EPO documents — censored even internally at the EPO. This one refers to Benoît Battistelli‘s union-busting activities and it shows that António Campinos continued covering these up as early as months after getting the job from Battistelli. With an Office basically infiltrated by an arse-covering cabal (averting accountability) public access — or transparency — becomes imperative.

“…it seems increasingly possible that this ‘nicer’ and ‘better’ president won’t even finish his term.”The document’s full text was already published here two years ago. We did not, however, share the message from the staff representation, which went as follows:

[CSC] Disciplinary Cases resulting from a political campaign against SR – not cleared (CSC paper currently censored by the Office)

Ms Bergot (PD43) is currently preventing the publication of a CSC paper on the Intranet. Following a request from the CSC we hereby provide you with the CSC publication and CSC comments on PD43’s email.

CSC publication

In June 2018, the ILO Administrative Tribunal, with a series of judgments, set aside disciplinary measures inflicted on EPO staff representatives / SUEPO officials, and on one former staff member now employed by SUEPO. It is clear to even the inattentive observer that the cases resulted from a political campaign launched by the previous President and his Administration, aimed at weakening any opposition to their plans. In the meantime the new President, Mr. Campinos, has concluded the two cases concerning Malika Weaver and Ion Brumme. However, this does not clean the slate.

Disciplinary cases against further SR / SUEPO officials are still ongoing – We cannot see that the Office has learnt from the other cases.
ILO further requested that the President “shall take into account the instruction to the President contained in Administrative Council Resolution CA/26/16 dated 16 March 2016.” In that Resolution, the Council requested the President to consider the possibility of involvement of an external reviewer for arbitration or mediation. We do not see this happening either.

The Judgments have preserved the President’s dispositive powers. We, for our part, consider that amnesty would be a fair execution of the Judgments. In all cases, it would also serve social peace and justice.

[...]

CSC comments

PD43 makes the upload on the Intranet of the CSC paper conditional to providing the Office with “explicit and unreserved consent” from staff members named in the CSC paper.

The CSC acts responsibly and sees no need for it as:

• The names of the persons cited in the document “Staff Representation Disciplinary Cases – Urgent action needed” intended for Intranet publication have already been made public e.g. in EPO FLIER No.42 published outside the Office.

• Their case has been made public in their respective ILOAT judgment.

• The CSC remains well within the bounds set in Judgments Nos. 911, 2227 and 3156, where it is repeated that interference with the broad freedom of expression a staff association enjoys must be confined to cases where there is a gross abuse or lack of protection of the persons affected by remarks that are ill-intentioned, defamatory or which concern their private life.

Remember this was only a few months after the supposedly ‘nicer’ and ‘better’ president had started his term. Clearly, based on the above, not much changed. Fast-forward two years and staff has lost all patience, only 3% of staff can trust the ‘nicer’ and ‘better’ president, and it seems increasingly possible that this ‘nicer’ and ‘better’ president won’t even finish his term.

How does the Central Staff Committee still keep staff informed? Through the union, SUEPO, as well as by peer. So in a sense, as we explained the day before yesterday, censorship attempts sort of backfire; one way or another the Central Staff Committee can get through to staff and if people want to know something, they’ll find a way, regardless of some lousy and repressive policies imposed by people who dodge accountability. All these people can do is make the information less accessible or more difficult to access. But people freely share documents among one another (outside the workplace, too) and this is how we typically receive copies. An information war is a losing battle when facts just aren’t on your side. How long for can EPO management bribe and blackmail the media; and at what cost? Whose cost?

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