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EPO Management Trying to Make EPO Staff Miserable and Isolated

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 8bcdadc32da94f7f1f7fa378c73b1402
EPO Breaking Teams Apart
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The siege against EPO examiners carries on; the sole goal is to turn educated, motivated, principled people into demoralised serfs who just grant as many patents as possible in order to fake so-called 'production' (in effect, bypassing the safeguards against fake and invalid patents which beget frivolous threats and litigation)

THE END of August is imminent. Today is Bank Holiday here in England and September soon commences. Expect our EPO coverage to be back in “full swing”, exposing the crimes of António Campinos, the successor of his corrupt compatriot aand close friend. Truth and justice can catch up with them, however belatedly.

The EPO isn’t saying much at the moment, mostly because people are on vacation (some physically away from work). We’ve meanwhile spoken to the EFF, trying to figure out the EFF’s silence on these matters in spite of the EFF’s focus on patents and on Europe (lots about copyright law in the EU). Don’t they show interest in European software patents? If not, then why not? They ought to explain and we’ll keep pressing.

“Maybe union-busting consultants suggested this to EPO managers.”The letter below concerns a meeting that actually took place last month. That’s when the EPO last issued a statement (regarding Montenegro) — no less than 33 days ago!

The message to staff covers “the project to reshuffle office spaces and introduce an “office for a day”. [Euphemism]”

Ignore terms like “bringing teams together” as “Breaking Teams Apart” (the title of the video above) seems to be the real goal, as we noted here back in June. It’s a strike-breaking strategy — akin to those which discourage any other industrial actions, even merely a protest of solidarity. Maybe union-busting consultants suggested this to EPO managers.

Here’s the message in full:

Bringing teams together – Report on the meeting of the LSCTH with VP1 on 13 July 2022

“The present publication emanates from Local Staff Committee the Hague which does not have access to mass email. It is re-published via SUEPO in order to reach a larger number of colleagues.”

Dear colleagues,
your Local Staff Committee The Hague met with VP1, VP4 and a member of facility management on 13 July 2022 regarding “bringing teams together”, i.e. the project to reshuffle office spaces and introduce an “office for a day”.

Main points:
- The lack of consultation before the decision was taken does not seem to comply with the requirements of the CODEX and iso 45001 certification;
- LSCTH is concerned about the prominence of managerial discretion in the attribution of assigned individual offices;
- Decision to assign individual offices to be based on a mature dialogue with staff;
- Staff can change their minds at any stage;
- Input from colleagues welcome: direct feedback, questions, tips and ideas relating to the project can be sent by email to Frédéric Brunelle and Edda Franz, possibly with staff representation (DHSTCOM for TH, MNSTCOM for MU) in cc.
- Concerns or questions related to managerial discretion should be addressed to staff representation directly;
- Bona fide consultation on contingency plan was requested.

The plethora of recent changes will “make the EPO great again” according to the members of management, while staff representation pointed to the fact that they are more likely to have far reaching negative consequences on the wellbeing and social fabric of the EPO, potentially leading to an increase of psychosocial risks.

See the full report [...] for more details.

Kind regards,
Your Local Staff Committee The Hague (LSCTH)

The video above goes through the original full report, which we’re reproducing as HTML for Gemini, IPFS, and plain text. It’s a longer version of the above, bearing the date of last Monday:

Staff Committee The Hague
Comité du personnel de La Haye
Personalausschuss Den Haag

22 August 2022

Bringing teams together

Report on the meeting of the LSCTH with VP1 on 13 July 2022

Dear colleagues,

Members of the LSCTH met Steve Rowan (VP1), Nellie Simon (VP4) and Frédéric Brunelle (Facility management) on 13th of July 2022.

The administration stated that the purpose of the meeting was to collect The Hague site specific issues related to the implementation of the “Bringing Teams Together” project.

While the Staff Representation expressed its appreciation for the opportunity to exchange on the matter, it noted that the present meeting could not be considered a consultation. It further noted that a decision on “Bringing Teams Together” had already been taken without prior consultation of the Staff Committees and of the Health & Safety statutory bodies, which goes against the CODEX1 and does not comply with the requirements for ISO 45001 certification2.
The LSCTH referred to the opinion of the CSC (central staff committee) members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 13/2022, and added that the project appears to be rushed, premature and seems to steer staff away from coming into the buildings.

It also noted that no prior consultation took place for the contingency plan which determines building temperatures in view of the energy crisis. The LSCTH indicated its sensitivity to the energy crisis and pointed out that consultation with the relevant committees should be carried out to ensure the legality, legitimacy, and acceptance amongst staff of any contingency measure that may be taken.

The members of the administration insisted that no consultation would be required since neither the “Bringing teams together” project nor the contingency plan would change our working conditions. The LSCTH expressed its disagreement, insisting that both matters quite obviously concern aspects of health, safety, and ergonomics, which are part and parcel of our working conditions.

The LSCTH expressed concerns on the implementation of “Bringing teams together”, in particular on the prominence of managerial discretion in the attribution of assigned individual offices and insisted that staff be treated equitably.

The administration answered that the basis of this concept would be flexibility and
1 Art. 37(1)(a) Service Regulations: the Local Staff Committee “shall be consulted on any proposal [...] which
concerns the conditions of employment of the whole or part of the staff at the place of employment concerned”.
2 ISO 45001 certification requires consultation including engaging health and safety committees and workers’ representatives

that it would be possible for staff to change their minds at any stage, even after the planning and implementation phases. There would be no fixed rules on which staff and line management could rely, everything will be at the discretion of line management and should be based on a mature dialogue with staff.

F. Brunelle from facility management stated that all input from colleagues is welcome, and it was agreed that staff could send direct feedback, questions, tips and ideas relating to the project by email to Frédéric Brunelle and Edda Franz, possibly with staff representation (DHSTCOM for TH, MNSTCOM for MU) in cc.

Concerns or questions related to managerial discretion should be addressed to staff representation directly.

The LSCTH concluded that the perpetual changes which have been taking place during and since the heights of the pandemic (for example, the series of reorganisations, the implementation of the new ways of working, the “Bringing teams together” initiative and the contingency plan) may have far reaching negative consequences on the wellbeing and social fabric of the EPO, potentially leading to disengagement, a loss of cohesion and sense of belonging as well as to an increase of psychosocial risks.

The members of management, on the other hand, closed the meeting with an optimistic outlook, in that all the changes and permanent reforms would “make the EPO great again” in an energetic, vibrant, collaborating and connecting environment.

Let’s see what the future brings.

Your Local Staff Committee The Hague (LSCTH)


Among the references they’ve added to the bottom (redacted) we have “What is wrong with hot- desking?” and “Appalling lack of consultation are the “New Ways of Working”?” (Munich)

Workers are clearly unhappy about this. Maybe making them unhappy is a side goal.

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