05.17.22

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Internal Poll: 93% of European Patent Office (EPO) Workers Are Unhappy With the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Petition launched

Examiner; Science; Autocrat; Litigation

Summary: On top of strike/s and industrial action/s there are now also petitions; at the EPO, almost all staff is “disgruntled” because of utterly corrupt and defunct leadership

THE tyranny at the EPO is discouraging and demoralising staff. First there was an elimination of permanent contracts (by Benoît Battistelli) and now an attack on salaries, too (António Campinos plunders the surplus).

Staff is understandably unhappy. Many are ‘stuck’ in the job (for reasons we’ve enumerated here many times before) and there’s pressure to illegally grant European Patents, even in clear violation of the EPC (some significant chunk of these patents are bogus software patents).

“As a sort of culmination of unrest, putting aside the strike and industrial action, there’s now a bunch of results from a poll predating the strike. There is also a petition.”Earlier this year, weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, the Local Staff Committee in The Hague had gathered and shared its views in presentations and slides [PDF]. Even before the war there was truly terrible inflation, which now motivates staff representatives to take swift action. As this chart [PDF] shows, Dutch cities were among those worst affected (Baltic states are worst off and fear imminent war at home).

EU inflation

EPO dictators are making false claims about reducing energy use (workers at home would spend even more) and here’s the component of energy costs:

EU energy

As a sort of culmination of unrest, putting aside the strike and industrial action, there’s now a bunch of results from a poll predating the strike. There is also a petition.

The poll shows that 93% were “rather dissatisfied” about the current situation at the EPO. To quote: “On February 3rd, around 900 colleagues in The Hague followed the live transmission of the 1st General Assembly of 2022 by the Local staff Committee The Hague (LSCTH). [...] During the meeting a poll took place: 93% are rather dissatisfied about the current situation at the EPO and 82% consider participating in industrial actions.”

The current industrial action is very successful and now there’s a petition in the making. To quote:

Dear colleagues,

Inflation is at an all-time high since the euro was launched in 1997. The inflation index published on 29 April 2022 by Eurostat for March 2022 is 7.4% for the Eurozone and 11.7% for The Netherlands when compared with prices a year before on March 2021.

The trend stays worrying upwards, with no visible signs of a stabilisation, let alone a clear downward trend. In Europe, the macro-economic prognosis points to a long-term inflation and economic stagnation. Double digit inflation figures will become common.

All of us are now faced with increased costs: energy (44%), medical expenses, school expenses, transportation, housing, all basic needs.

The school costs in particular, aggravated by the recent Education and Childcare reform, are impacting EPO staff parents more harshly. Additionally, to the impact of increased childcare costs since January 2022, as from August/September 2022 when further transitional measures are finished, the full weight of the indirect costs (like afterschool care and transportation) will be felt by our colleagues with children.

Without an extraordinary adjustment to our salaries, EPO staff, in particular at the lower grades and/or with large families, are going to have difficulties complying with their liabilities in the coming months.
Staff expects in these extraordinary economic circumstances that extraordinary measures are taken by the EPO administration.

SUEPO requests that the administration proceeds with an extraordinary adjustment of the salaries in July 2022 to smoothen the huge impact of the inflation on EPO staff and families.

Yours sincerely,
SUEPO Committee TH – LBDH

“Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures,” SUEPO notes. “SUEPO is deeply concerned about the impact of inflation on EPO staff and families. In view of an annual inflation amounting to 11.7% in The Netherlands we hereby request an extraordinary salary adjustment in July 2022.”

This petition isn’t just for workers inside the union but for everyone at the Office. “Of course,” SUEPO notes, “non-SUEPO members are also invited to participate in the petition.”

The results of the staff survey will also follow.

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