06.24.22

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EPO Staff at The Hague Complains of New Pressure Tactics and Survey Shows Less than 10% Think Office Policies Serve the EPO’s Interests

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO: Business as Usual
Business as usual next week? Will national delegates listen to staff or simply collude with the management of the Office in exchange for ‘soft’ bribes?

Summary: With only a few days left before national representatives meet in Munich to discuss the future of the Office it’s important to understand that they totally ignore the interests of Europe, the EPO’s staff, and science/technology; today we examine the sentiments of people based in The Netherlands, who are exceedingly unhappy about the direction their employer (EPO) has taken

THE countdown ahead of next week’s meeting pauses a bit as we enter the weekend. The EPO now faces its biggest crisis since Benoît Battistelli ‘left’ (or left his friend António Campinos in charge).

For those just joining us, there’s industrial action underway at the EPO, next week there will be a very large demonstration, and there’s currently a plan to extend the industrial action until the end of September (staff is being asked for input). As it stands, many patent applications get ignored and/or denied; some are software patents, which should not be granted due to being outlawed by the European Patent Convention (1973). “The illegality of the software patents’ granting and the reason it is illegal are important,” reminds us an associate (irrespective of whichever buzzwords they latch onto, e.g. “AI”).

“As we showed last night, based on the staff survey, about 4 out of 10 workers describe themselves as “desperate” at this point.”Should one be surprised that the aggressive regime of Battistelli and Campinos starts harassing the staff? No. They’re playing Russian route with staff's health. As we showed last night, based on the staff survey, about 4 out of 10 workers describe themselves as "desperate" at this point.

Earlier today there was a new publication in circulation among colleagues on Dutch territories. This was the image that the publication went with:

The holistic reporting system, the bottleneck of the SP2023 project
To quote the publication: “With the introduction of the holistic approach in the reporting exercise, it appears that DG1 colleagues working next to their examiner/patent administrator task on projects outside the patent granting process (PGP) are put under pressure by their (line) managers. It seems that the understanding of holistic by some (line) managers is limited to the PGP and that the contributions under the umbrella of the SP2023 projects are not considered with the necessary respect and merit.”

Here’s the raw publication, the full text:

24 June 2022
su22018hp – 0.2.1

The holistic reporting system, the bottleneck of the SP2023 project

Dear SUEPO members, dear colleagues,

In 2019 the SP2023 has been introduced as a common programme to manage projects office wide.
In most of the projects DG1 workforce is involved, which is appreciated and commented by higher management as bringing fruitful diverse views on the topics and additionally direct input from the core business. Feedback from management says that the DG1 workforce contribution is highly appreciated in these projects.
The success of these projects can thus only be achieved by making use of the DG1 workforce.

With the introduction of the holistic approach in the reporting exercise, it appears that DG1 colleagues working next to their examiner/patent administrator task on projects outside the patent granting process (PGP) are put under pressure by their (line) managers.
It seems that the understanding of holistic by some (line) managers is limited to the PGP and that the contributions under the umbrella of the SP2023 projects are not considered with the necessary respect and merit.

SUEPO TH considers that contributions by colleagues from DG1 in SP2023 projects is enriching the EPO and brings talents to bear. It is unambiguous that most of the project work could not be achieved without the contribution of DG1 colleagues.

We, therefore, call upon DG1 management to open the bottleneck by reconsidering their position and to give support to all their staff members who contribute to the best functioning of the office, by allocating the necessary budget and by evaluating positively the extra efforts done in the staff reports.

Finally, SUEPO TH thanks all contributors for their contribution to the different projects!

SUEPO The Hague

[...]

So while the Munich-based workers organise a demonstration (on the day of the Administrative Council’s meeting) their colleagues in The Netherlands aren’t resting. They circulate a lot of information and organise as well. There will also be “a get-together meeting on the day of the Administrative Council for its members and those who want to become members.”

SUEPO is growing. Most of the staff is already in SUEPO. They’re recruiting additional members. The more, the merrier. It’s most necessary when management goes so rogue and routinely breaks the law.

“The gathering will take place on June 29,” they say, “in Rijswijk on the day of the [meeting of] Administrative Council.”

Just hours ago they also had a “Virtual Coffee Meetings,” wherein they spoke “informally on the ongoing actions” and covered “Working to the rule” (industrial action) while collecting “Feedback of yours for further actions”…

So there’s more in the pipeline. The EPO’s Web site has not been updated for 3 days. Some management figures must be terribly concerned.

Among the issues discussed today were “teleworking guidelines” and “work pressure.”

Finally, reflecting upon a recent meeting with staff, the Local Staff Committee The Hague (LSCTH) says that based on the “Staff General Assembly The Hague June 2022,” (just over a fortnight ago) “91% do not trust that President’s reforms are in the interest of the EPO”…

Mind the Conclusion & Poll in page 34 of this sanitised version of the presentation (no metadata). To quote LSCTH: “On June 7th, approximately 620 colleagues from The Hague participated in the (virtual) 2nd General Assembly of 2022 by the Local staff Committee The Hague (LSCTH). During the meeting a poll took place: 91% do not trust that the President’s policies and reforms are serving the best interests of the EPO.” Imagine working in a place where less than 10% of staff trust the management. Campinos himself is trusted by only 3% based on the latest poll (preliminary results published a day ago).

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