03.21.22

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EPO is ‘Hiding’ €4.9 Billion and President “Campinos Has Decided to Freeze the Salaries of All Staff and to Deprive at Least 40% of Them of Any Career Progression”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 578c976b5106258e429f5c45e5b474f9
Plundering EPO Staff During High Inflation
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The EPO‘s Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos have both crushed staff such as patent examiners, putting them on time-limited contracts with decreasing salaries while compelling them to grant lots of bogus European Patents, including software patents; no wonder the staff goes on strike!

THERE is less than a day left before the EPO strike and the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO has just disseminated this 2-page letter. “Statements by Mr Campinos praising the “outstanding efforts” and “excellent work of all staff” are a mockery in view of the proposed reward exercise in 2022,” the CSC says. “The worst-ever percentage of 40% of eligible staff is excluded from any career progression. He has even downsized the budget available for rewards approved by the Administrative Council despite the massive savings made with the salary adjustment procedure. Since the beginning of the pandemic, EPO staff worked well to ensure business continuity. At a time when increases in costs of living are historically high, Mr Campinos has decided to freeze the salaries of all staff and to deprive at least 40% of them of any career progression. The way organisations treat their employees during a crisis betrays their true values. At the EPO, it also announces the policies to be continued during Mr Campinos’ second term.”

The paper is discussed above and is also reproduced below:

Munich, 21 March 2022
sc22030cp

Reward exercise 2022: From bad to worse

Statements by Mr Campinos praising the “outstanding efforts”1 and “excellent work of all staff”2 are a mockery in view of the proposed reward exercise in 2022. The worst-ever percentage of 40% of eligible staff is excluded from any career progression. Mr Campinos has even downsized the budget available for rewards approved by the Council despite the massive savings made with the salary adjustment procedure. More in this paper.

2021, the second Covid-19 year…
The year 2020 was already a challenge for all staff. The year 2021 was hardly better. While EPO staff thought that vaccination would put an end to the pandemic, the number of infections broke out again and home schooling continued for the quarantined. Thanks to the dedication of all staff, by the end of 2021, the EPO annual cash surplus amounted to at least € 310 million3 which is better than the budget and better than 2020. EPO staff deserves to be rewarded for making such achievements possible even during the pandemic.

… but downsizing the budget
The Administrative Council had agreed to reward staff with € 29,099 million4. Mr Campinos arbitrarily decided to reduce the proposed budget for rewards by EUR -7,5 million compared to the one in the 2022 budget. This cut comes on top of massive unexpected savings made on the salary mass because of the disastrous application of the salary adjustment procedure 2020 and the freeze in salaries for 2021. The proposed budget for pensionable and non-pensionable rewards at € 21,600 million in 2022 is now below the budget of € 22,600 million in 20205, and € 22,000 million in 20196.

…and setting the worst percentage ever

% among eligible staff for step(s) or promotion

_____________
1 Communiqué of 8 March 2022
2 CIN meeting of 18 February 2022 @47:35
3 Budget and Finance Committee report of 8 November 2021
4 CA/50/21 & CA/D 1/21, page 69 : 3% x Basic salaries = 0,03 x 969.970 = 29,099 million
5 GCC/DOC 11/20
6 GCC/DOC 4/2019


After setting the ceiling at 70% in 20217, Mr Campinos puts the threshold during the still running pandemic back at the minimum level of 60% applied in 20188, 2019 and 2020. Mr Campinos reverts to the downward trend initiated by his predecessor.

To justify his policy, Mr Campinos still dares to mention the baseline scenario of the Financial Study 2019 correspond[ing] to granting a step to 60% of eligible staff. Management should refrain from referring to a study which has now undeniably proven to be wrong by predicting deflation9 instead of inflation. The most recent reported values in 2021 for the EPO funds10 show that they performed € 4,9 billion11 better than forecast in the baseline scenario.

60% among eligible staff, but in practice?
The flaws of the proposed reward exercise12 are detailed in the opinion annexed to the report on the GCC meeting of 1 March 2022. After seven reward exercises, the punitive aspects of the system also become obvious:

Staff in service on 31.12.2021 and still in service on 01.07.2022 may be considered for steps or promotion, provided that they are not yet in the last step of the highest grade of the respective job group or “off-scale”. (section II, 1. 2)

The number of staff members who have reached the end of their job group (e.g. G9(5) for JG6, G10(5) for JG5 and G13(5) for JG4) has increased and they are now deprived of any career progression. This is also not without adverse consequences for their colleagues.

Some directorates may count up to 20 out of 70 staff members at the final step. When applying the threshold of 60%, it is not 42 staff members who may be eligible for steps or promotion but only 30. This reduces opportunities for their colleagues. New recruits in a directorate with many staff at the last step (e.g. in DG1) found themselves at a disadvantage compared to new recruits in a directorate with an overall younger population (e.g. the Communication Department).

In addition, some directors arbitrarily reduce the percentage for the teams they consider less productive without duly considering the specificities of their work. A COO, a PD or a VP may further reduce the percentage to show that he or she is acting more “sustainably” than other managers.

Conclusion
Since the beginning of the pandemic, EPO staff worked well to ensure business continuity. At a time when increases in costs of living are historically high, Mr Campinos has decided to freeze the salaries of all staff and to deprive at least 40% of them of any career progression. The way organisations treat their employees during a crisis betrays their true values. At the EPO, it also announces the policies to be continued during Mr Campinos’ second term.

The Central Staff Committee

_____________
7 GCC/DOC 1/2021
8 GCC/DOC 5/2018
9 CA/83/19, page 20
10 EPOTIF in CA/F 3/22 and RFPSS in RFPSS/SB 62/21
11 “Salary Adjustment Procedure – Pillaging staff during the pandemic”, page 14, LSCMN publication of 28-01-2022 (sc22022mp)
12 GCC/DOC 4/2022

In short, the Office behaves like a bankers’ operation [1, 2], not like a patent office. This never ends well for anybody.

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