02.16.21

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More Broken Promises as EPO Management Pretends That the Office is Poor (While Looting Its Treasury for Personal Gain)

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 6:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The big scandal that the media and even the Commission still turn a blind eye to sees the workers of the EPO (even former workers or pensioners) robbed by EPO management, which abuses its granting authority to hoard money and then gamble with that money; staff isn’t amused

Earlier this week we mentioned the impact on parents [1, 2] who had chosen to work for Europe’s largest patent office. Some of them had to take their entire family abroad for this career path. This is no small potatoes. Many family members are affected, not just working parents.

“If the EPO cannot assure basic labour rights, and if amid all this there’s also a financial scandal going on (an office pretending to be poor when it fact it is being robbed), what hope is there for the rest of Europe’s workers?”Using COVID-19 as a pretext, never mind if the policies have nothing whatsoever to do with public health, various employers crack down on staff’s rights. One might expect that the world’s public or international institutions would keep up with higher standards than that. But no…

MoneyThe Central Staff Committee of the EPO wrote about “Education and Childcare reform” some time yesterday when it circulated the document above. “Report on the fifth (and last?) meeting of the Working Group,” it said, noting that there are signs that António Campinos is shutting off even the pretense of dialogue (he’s worse than Benoît Battistelli in many regards, as the union routinely notes). “On 4 February, the fifth (and last?) meeting of the Working Group on Education & Childcare allowances took place between the administration and staff representation,” they write. There’s then a breakdown of what was discussed:

The following main items were discussed:

– The date of entry into force of the reform. On 18.12.2020 we sent a letter – still unanswered – asking for clarification of the apparent contradiction between announcements of 30.07.2020 and 07.12.2020. In the meeting, the administration made it clear that the reform would enter into force on 1 July 2021 and be implemented for the school year 2021-2022.

– Revised ceilings for Berlin and Vienna (€15.621 and €17.753 for primary and secondary school respectively).

– The fact that the proposed reform is not cost-neutral but that it would lead to considerable savings for the Office.

– The fact that only siblings aged 3-4 are included in the transitional measures.

– The proposal of the administration for the childcare allowance, with a lumpsum of €346 per child and a top-up sum up to €575 per child on condition that the child attends a childcare facility, with no site-specific solutions.

“The administration has cancelled the next meeting of the Working Group,” they note, which is why they insist this might be the last such meeting (more like a webchat at this point; they don’t meet face to face). They recently complained about the mass cancellation of meetings, which no longer necessitate even travel or other such logistics. Here’s the full document, which was circulated yesterday:

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité Central du Personnel

Munich – 15.02.2021
sc21016cp- 0.2.1/4.2.2

Report on the fifth meeting of the Working Group on Education & Childcare allowances

Dear colleagues,

On 4 February, the fifth meeting of the Working Group on Education & Childcare allowances took place between the administration and staff representation.

The first item in the agenda was the date of entry into force of the reform. On 18.12.2020 we sent a letter – still unanswered – asking for clarification of the apparent contradiction between the announcements of 30.07.2020 and 07.12.2020.

In his communiqué of 30.07.2020 the President had assured “a smooth and gradual transition”, anticipating that “measures related to school children will be implemented for the school year 2022-2023”. However, at the meeting the administration made it clear that the reform would be presented to the AC of June and that, contrary to the July 2020 announcement, it would enter into force on 1 July 2021 and be implemented for the school year 2021-2022. The transitional measures should therefore apply to children who were already enrolled in school on 1 July 2021.

The second item in the agenda was the special situation of Berlin and Vienna. The administration presented a proposal with revised ceilings for these sites (€15.621 and €17.753 for primary and secondary school respectively).

Thirdly, we discussed the demographic data of the children we had received from the administration on 25 January. With these data we could calculate the costs relying on the age pyramid. We were then able to show how the proposed reform is not cost-neutral but that it would indeed lead to considerable savings for the Office.

We also warned them of the legal consequences of abolishing the principle of equal treatment of distinct groups presently guaranteed in the Service Regulations.

Next, the administration presented a series of new budgetary scenarios in their transitional measures for the inclusion of siblings, the scenarios differing according to age thresholds of the siblings. So far, only siblings aged 3-4 are included in their transitional measures.

The last item concerned the childcare allowance. The administration presented the latest revision of their proposal, namely a lumpsum of €346 per child on condition that the child do not use childcare facilities, and a top-up sum up to €575 per child on condition that the child attends a childcare facility. They did not propose any site-specific solutions.

Once again, the administration refused to negotiate the terms of the reform.

The next meeting of the Working Group should have taken place on 15 February. However, the administration has just cancelled the meeting1 and asked us to give our comments in writing on only three items, namely the childcare allowance, the education allowance for Berlin/Vienna and the transitional measures for siblings.

We will keep you informed.

Your Central Staff Committee

____
1 We have asked the President for reasons: see our publication “Social dialogue: meetings cancelled”.

If the EPO cannot assure basic labour rights, and if amid all this there’s also a financial scandal going on (an office pretending to be poor when it fact it is being robbed), what hope is there for the rest of Europe’s workers?

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