12.03.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

António Campinos as EPO President is Considered Worse Than Benoît Battistelli (in Some Regards) After 3.5 Years in Europe’s Second-Largest Institution

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum c23ed24db0fc21e839f742b915f7655b

Summary: The EPO’s demise at the hands of people who don’t understand patents and don’t care what the EPO exists for is a real crisis which European media is unwilling to even speak about; today we share some internal publications and comment on them

THE EPO‘s President, Frenchman António Campinos, is also considered Portuguese. But the nationality isn’t what matters. What matters is his longstanding collusion with another Frenchman, Benoît Battistelli, whom he cooperated with before they hijacked the EUIPO and EPO. They now use the institutions as a vehicle for bribery and financial manipulation. EU officials don’t seem to be doing anything about this… so the least we can do is report these issues to the general public.

“It rapidly becomes little but a satellite of large foreign corporations and patent litigation firms, not science.”Earlier today the Central Staff Committee (CSC) circulated this very long and detailed document [PDF] about the dire situation at the EPO. It’s probably way too long for us to properly convert into HTML — typically a manual process — so instead we’ll quote the summary as sent to staff. It is the “[r]eport on the GCC meeting of 23 November 2021″ with “[t]he following topics [...] on the agenda: financial topics, most notably the adjustment of salaries and of pensions paid by the Office with effect from 1 January 2022; amendments of the Service Regulations concerning strikes and unauthorised absence; “New Ways of Working”; orientation on recruitment.”

The annexes in the document show the position of staff representatives, who were very unhappy about the final outcome. “The ten CSC members of the GCC gave the unanimous opinions collated in this publication,” they said. They clearly put many days of work — unpaid effort — into this document, which seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as usual. To quote them:

The President convened a GCC meeting by videoconference to tick the box of “statutory consultation” on several documents before the December meeting of the Administrative Council. As usual, in an email, the President thanked the members of the GCC for the “constructive ViCo session” and the “meaningful consultation” and asked for the votes of the GCC members. As usual, the ten members appointed by the President voted “in favour” of all documents.

The President seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli, that an opinion should be reduced to a ternary vote, i.e. either “in favour”, “against” or abstaining. We resist this simplistic approach: we appreciate the advantages but also recognise the risks and disadvantages of the President’s changes to the working conditions of staff. The opinions of the CSC members of the GCC are drawn up accordingly. Sometimes they express a vote. Sometimes they do not express a vote, which the President then considers as an abstention. In any case, they give a reasoned opinion.

The tone and the words are similar to what we saw earlier this week. They argued that Campinos “seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli…”

Now they say: “The President seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli, that an opinion should be reduced to a ternary vote, i.e. either “in favour”, “against” or abstaining.”

Manichaeism is defined by Wikipedia.

Separately — and that’s the subject of the video above — the representatives wrote about “Social Agenda 2022″ (the word “social” gets misused a a lot, e.g. “Social Democracy”), calling it “Yet another attack on working conditions?”

In their own words:

Three years into his mandate, the President has already built an impressive track record of deteriorating the working package of staff, that even rivals his predecessor. His two most noteworthy achievements are the new salary adjustment procedure and the remarkably ill-conceived education and childcare allowance reform.

If you find yourself wondering about what is next, you are not alone. The annual social agenda is the first indication we have of the future plans of the President. On the list of “new topics” to be introduced in 2022, a “Review of Leave” is listed.

At this stage we have no further information, and wait to hear what this review entails. However, considering the general track record of the President, and that he recently decided to abolish flexi-time on the dubious grounds that additional flexibility in working location is ample justification, it doesn’t bode well.

The full letter sent to staff (colleagues) gave a more detailed list of what Campinos had done.

Munich, 02/12/2021
sc21144cp

Social Agenda 2022: Yet another attack on working conditions?

Dear Colleagues,

Only three years into his mandate, the President has already built an impressive track record of deteriorating the working package of staff, that even rivals his predecessor. His two most noteworthy achievements are:

- the new salary adjustment procedure that results in no salary adjustment applied in January 2022 and very likely also no corresponding salary adjustment applied in January 2023, in a period that sees the highest inflation in decades, with even the delayed adjustments being pitifully low in comparison to other international organisations and applied long after they are needed;
- the remarkably ill-conceived education and childcare allowance reform that gives new meaning to the terms “simple”, “fair” and “clear” by introducing discrimination amongst the sites of employment and causing chaos for Human Resources (HR) due to an inundation of requests for clarification from confused staff members unable to make sense of the reform.

In addition to these reforms that were spearheaded by the President himself, our working package is also persistently weakened because of his adherence to the detrimental reforms of the past. We face a continuous increase of the pension contributions, which is disadvantageous to all but those who happen to be NPS members with the highest grades (no prizes for guessing who is in this group). The new career system continues to slow or halt completely the career progression of many colleagues, and ensures colleagues enter the Office lower on the salary scale by stipulating that relevant previous experience is unrecognised. The President also maintained the Battistelli strike regulations and made no lawful proposal during the first three years of his mandate. It is only the Tribunal which brought this violation of fundamental rights to an end.

If you find yourself wondering about what is next, you are not alone. The annual social agenda is the first indication we have of the future plans of the President. On the list of “new topics” to be introduced in 2022, a “Review of Leave” is listed.

At this stage we have no further information, and wait to hear what this review entails. However, considering the general track record of the President, and that he recently decided to abolish flexi-time on the dubious grounds that additional flexibility in working location is ample justification, it doesn’t bode well.

The Central Staff Committee

The Central Staff Committee penned this entire thing very politely and diplomatically. A year ago staff went on strike. Will it happen again some time soon? It’s up to them (to decide) and it might even change the way media views the situation. Last year almost not a single publisher even mentioned the strike (this was deliberate!) and in the video above I explain what I think happens here. The EPO’s corrosive agenda makes it a rogue institution which does not serve Europe, does not serve the public, and does not treat staff in compliance with the EPC’s expectations and standards. It rapidly becomes little but a satellite of large foreign corporations and patent litigation firms, not science.

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