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The Future of the EPO’s Work-to-Rule Industrial Action (Examiners Following the Law Rather Than Unlawful Instructions From Management)

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 3:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A hardcore António Campinos
“Do what I say!! I’m the f***ing president!!!”

Summary: The sort of atmosphere that has already led to a ‘suicide wave’ at the EPO is being reproduced by António Campinos (Monopoly Tony) less than 4 years after he came, just like Benoît Battistelli around 2014

THE EPO situation isn’t improving ahead of next week’s meeting. Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are both corrupt dictators, who do anything within their power and even illegal things to suppress the staff and pretend all is well.

In a saner world, Battistelli and Campinos would both be detained, arrested, prosecuted, and left behind bars for more years than Blatter. It’s a tragedy and a stain on Europe’s reputation that this has not happened.

“Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are both corrupt dictators, who do anything within their power and even illegal things to suppress the staff and pretend all is well.”Earlier this year the staff voted in favour of industrial action, lessening the grants of bogus patents (such as software patents) by a considerable level. There is currently another ballot, this one “on extension of the Work-to-Rule actions until 30 September 2022″ (the next big meeting) and this “ballot will run until Thursday 23 June at 12:00 (noon).”

That’s tomorrow.

“…not only does EPO management break the law; it’s trying to break the staff too.”Dutch or Netherlands-based (mostly the latter, not the former) union leaders say there are efforts to break the staff. The issues spill over to blogs (see comments) and the union has taken note. “Translations are available in German, French and Dutch,” it says, having produced these in recent days. Where is the media? Where are national broadcasters? Complicity by silence?

The SUEPO (in The Hague) committee has meanwhile issued the following guidance to staff:

21 June 2022
su22016hp – 0.2.1

Production pressure and staff reporting for 2022 – What to do?

Holistic Approach
With the introduction of the Holistic approach (link to intranet page) most of the time deductions that were accounted for in MUSE have been replaced by a common pre-determined fixed value.
As a consequence, this change can affect your productivity considerably if your actual time deductions are above the pre-determined fixed value. Also, concrete individual production targets were replaced with a production range (individually and/or at team level). This fits with the business goal of supporting your team. Other goals like Quality, Collaboration and Development are also part of your evaluation.

Evaluation in your Staff Report

According to Circular 366 that regulates our staff reporting procedures, staff members are responsible for “meeting the expectations discussed with their manager” and are expected “to review their progress regularly and to actively report to their manager on their progress as well as on potential difficulties”. This means that any foreseeable impact on the productivity expectations or production should be communicated to your manager. Also, it is important to leave a periodic registration of the actual time deductions (on the successfactors or by email to your manager), so that a realistic assessment of the productivity can be made.

Working under exceptional circumstances – impact on staff’s health

From March 2020 until the present-day EPO staff continues to work under exceptional circumstances due to the pandemic. There is still a limitation to work at the EPO premises and staff members and their family are still struggling to cope with the effects of the pandemic. The recent statistics on sick leave at the EPO illustrate the impact that the pandemic has on staff members. In view of this, it is important for staff members to look after their health and leave a written record of the impact their health state is having on their performance. As the statistics have shown, while some of us have managed to cope with the extraordinary situation there are those that have seen their health take a toll.

Production Pressure

At a recent meeting with the LSCTH, the VP1 stated that “examiners can only do what they can do. Colleagues put themselves under pressure because they want to give a good service.” and that “…TMs which have only a certain capacity should not try to do more. Whatever workload is unable to be dealt with is the problem of upper management, and not the responsibility of the individual staff members”. These statements confirm the advice to staff that they should not put their health in danger and that undue production pressure should not be put onto staff’s shoulders.

What to do?

In view of the above it is important to follow these points:

- Take care of your health. If you feel tired or exhausted, please consult your doctor and report it to your manager and H&S.

- Keep a written record of your actual time deductions and share them with your manager regularly.

- In the intermediate reviews, call your manager’s attention to the actual productivity that you would get if these time deductions were accounted for. Leave a written record of your assessment of your situation.

- Leave a written record of the impact on your performance caused by the extraordinary circumstances we’re experiencing.

- If you find yourself being put under production pressure by your TM please seek advice and get in contact with either the staff representation or the union.

If these steps are taken, when the final review meeting takes place the staff member will be better prepared to argue and defend the final evaluation in their staff report.

As can be seen from the above, not only does EPO management break the law; it’s trying to break the staff too.

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