Team Battistelli (high-level EPO management) is trying to shoot — metaphorically like a sniper — Elizabeth Hardon, a staff representative (apparently a “major proposal”)
Summary: Sessions of the Administrative Council dissected; Reports from the Office serve to show how grim things have become for all staff unions, not just SUEPO
FOR anyone still in doubt about Benoît Battistelli’s megalomania, we humbly suggest the first, second and third part of this ongoing series (together with the teaser) as preparatory reading. The EPO has become somewhat of a laughing stock because the President of the EPO not only stomps on the law but also brags about it. That’s the hallmark of sadistic tyrants — those who view themselves as kings of the universe (which nobody is allowed to disagree with, no matter how high up). Famous examples include Stalin, who made a habit of ‘vanishing’ his perceived opposition.
“Il faudrait un tremblement de terre pour que le conseil d’administration, où chacun des 35 États membres a une voix, n’accorde pas son soutien aux propositions majeures.” –Benoît BattistelliToday’s situation report, which is circulating among EPO staff, reveals how atrocious things have become inside the EPO. It begins with a quote from the infamous Usine Nouvelle interview from 2012 where Battistelli bragged how free of any constraints he is. Or in other words, how totally unaccountable he is. To quote the original (in French): «Il faudrait un tremblement de terre pour que le conseil d’administration, où chacun des 35 États membres a une voix, n’accorde pas son soutien aux propositions majeures.»
That’s from Battistelli’s own mouth. Translation from French-speaking people (whom we have been in touch with) would be: “An earthquake would be needed for the Administrative Council, where each of the 35 member states has one vote, not to support my major proposals.”
Amazing, isn’t it? Until you consider what Battistelli’s character is like…
Based on some comments that we are seeing in IP Kat right now, Team Battistelli is fast-tracking the union-busting ahead of Christmas, even a week ahead of Christmas Eve.
One recent comment says: “Battistelli was told by the council to renew social dialogue and stop harassing the representatives of the personal and he was, apparently, told privately by the French and Dutch delegations to stop the ongoing disciplinary procedures but he is still in post. What will he do next?
“There are 3 members of the staff union who are attacked in Munich. I think that all 3 hearings have been rushed through this week, so that the president can publish his 3 decisions before the end of the year. From what has been published from the procedure, it is obvious that this is a mock trial. There are simply too many procedural violations for the procedure to be believable.
“Battistelli was told by the council to renew social dialogue and stop harassing the representatives of the personal and he was, apparently, told privately by the French and Dutch delegations to stop the ongoing disciplinary procedures but he is still in post.” –Anonymous“Will the president do what he was told by the council, stop the disciplinary procedures and reintegrate the 3 representatives? Or will he show the council that they are powerless to stop him and fire all 3 nevertheless?
“He can stop the disciplinary procedures, the service regulations allow him to do so. The disciplinary committees can find all 3 guilty, the president is still allowed to ignore their findings and reintegrate the 3 representatives. This is what he was explicitly instructed to do so any other decision will be contrary to the instructions of the council.”
Battistelli has been trying to halt communications so that they can do mock trials in secret. As another commenter put it: “What a pity that Merkel has failed to report on a fifth “remarkable” letter:
“Battistelli has been trying to halt communications so that they can do mock trials in secret.”“Namely, the “warning letter” sent by the President of the EPO to the Chair of the Presidium (VP3) telling him to be careful about contacts between the Presidium and the AC which had not received prior authorisation from the President of the EPO.
“Now that’s a letter that would make interesting reading.”
Based on the latest comments in IP Kat, some people are still not sure what happened in the meetings/sessions which started and ended this week. We have some yet-unverified claims (pertaining to boards and unions), but based on the following report, this is what actually happened and it’s similar to what commenters in IP Kat had predicted:
Fact is that during this Session, the AC has unambiguously criticised and NOT “given its support” to no less than 3 “major proposals”:
1. …the opening speech gave the opportunity to delegations to express their disagreement with the analysis of the President on the situation in the Office
2. the Tax-adjustment was purely and simply rejected
3. the paper on Orientations for the structural reform of the EPO Boards of Appeal was purely removed overnight from the agenda (see point II)
4. even the review of the service regulation did not make it on the agenda and an overnight reworked revised version was only accepted after controversial discussions
It may not solve our urgent problems directly but the above seems to indicate that if not an earthquake, major tremors have emanated from the AC epicentre.
After 3 AC sessions during which delegations expressed subtle warnings though means of abstentions and critical remark, their message is now less diplomatic and this president has been stopped for the first time ever.
One can hope that clear instructions have also been issued by the AC regarding how to deal with the staff, the staff representation and the suspended colleagues, as some of the statements in plenum seem to indicate, but nothing is less than sure. And one can hope that the powerful will not vent their frustration on those the powerless staff they administer (see point IV below).
II- DG3 reforms: “Gimme that toy before you break it entirely…”
As mentioned above, after the Confidential session, the reform was removed from the agenda and replaced by an exchange of view in plenum. It essentially suggests that the B28 is put in charge of this dossier and comes, after another consultation, with a reviewed proposal.
Surprisingly, it is the Swiss delegation by the voice of Mr. Grossenbacher, that seems to have taken the lead* in reformulating the reform proposal. As a side note, it is remarkable, since the present administration is the very product of this powerful man sitting a AC president for years and who has initially suggested the whole HR reforms and what many call and “autocratic” management style rolled out by the present administration: a “Brutus-situation” the other way around?
In essence, the proposal seemingly should be refocused on the following elements (to paraphrase the Swiss delegate):
1. “The seat issue is less important. It appears to us irrelevant. The Boards of Appeal can stay where they are, in the Isar building. This costs nothing and does not harm the independence.“
2. They suggest “to exclude The Cooling-Off Period”, preventing employment after EPO life.
3. For the appointment and reappointment of DG3 members, the right of appointment must be transferred to the President of the Board of Appeal.
4. The Rules of Procedure should not be proposed by the Office President.
5. The budget should be prepared to be then submitted to the Council as in CA/16/15
6. The Board of Appeal Committee should be established by the Council alone. The Committee serves to foster dialogue. The decisions should be taken by the Council. Six members should have the Committee, three by the Council and three from the Boards of Appeal. No observer, but the President of the Boards of Appeal and others can be invited.
7. The wage system should be committed to performance however, the modalities of which should be worked on later however, handling should remain solely with the President of the Boards of Appeal.
8. The timeframe: new proposal by March 2016.
It is too early to comment on the new direction but so much seems clear: it seems to have changed towards insuring truly more independence. However, in the light on the complexity of the issue we can simply wish them good luck with this challenging timetable.
III- Suspense and suspension: ad vitam eternam is removed but…
The original reform proposal regulating the suspension of staff (Art.95, planned by Mr. Battistelli to be without limitation in time) was replaced overnight. The revised version tabled lead to somewhat confused or confusing discussions in plenum as the new wording was discovered by many during the session. The final document can be found now on MICADO.
In essence, the delegations recognised the problem with having a 4 months time-limit for employees nominated by the AC, which seems incompatible with the rhythm of 3 to 4 planned plenary sessions per year but seem to have understood that the removal of any maximum time limit is abusive. It is thus suggested to keep the 4 months for all staff and as a compromise change it to up to 24 months for appointees of the AC. In how far, such a legal uncertainty for a judge is seen as adequate by the delegations seems well above my pay-grade…
On the retroactivity on running cases – which leads this reform to be dubbed by some outside observers as a special rule exclusively targeting the suspended DG3 judge – the debate was heated: some delegations considered the legality of such a proposal “questionable” and in fine, it led to DE and NL to vote against the proposal. All considered, the proposal found a large majority with 32 in favour, 2 against (DE, NL) and 4 abstentions (GR, SK, SE, FR).
IV- Lost in suspension: “and the winner is…”
Wednesday and Thursday the Member States representatives made certainly a remarkable step towards taking concrete actions. Today is Friday and “real-life” goes on with its train of bad news… The dust has not settled yet and the Disciplinary Committees are taking the next steps on very practical cases, touching the lives of colleagues who should be focusing on Christmas and their families or friends instead.
The bad news is that the Disciplinary committees seem to work as if nothing happened. In the first concrete case of Ms. Elizabeth Hardon the recommendation has fallen and is unambiguous. We can unfortunately expect her dismissal at short notice. Under these conditions, little hope remains for the other two colleagues who are still expecting terrific news.
The next week will tell us if the president has been given clear instructions or only polite indications during the Administrative Council.
But honestly, hope is slim that these colleagues are given a chance to a fair trial given the procedure so far.
V- Personal comments: it can’t go on like this, this is not a life!
[...] the staff representation office-wide has been decimated and many of its actors are getting at a point where they are either sick, suspended, resigned or Els(e)… This cannot go on.
Statistically spoken, as can be seen from the paper “Social Democracy: Staff Representation dismantling is on track!” we used to have ca. 200 staff members working on behalf of Staff representation in the past with an average of ca. 40 men years. It represented in 2012 a total of 8900 days, e.g. a yearly 1,2 day per staff member. Now the December Dashboard shows EXCATLY 3281 days, e.g. less than 0,46 day per staff member. Such statistics mean preciously little when you live it but they can be a pale indication to an outsider.
The EPO makes no secret of the fact that it not interested in the Staff opinion and even less its staff representation but everybody knows that already.
That fact per se is dangerous enough for any institution. Evolution has shown that an organism without feedback loops is bound to fail.
My opinion is to let people work under these conditions is grossly negligent.
And, as in the above mentioned cases, attacking them at the same me is purely and simply criminal. (if not legally than at least morally)
In short, it seems likely that the EPO will officially fire a staff representative for allegedly speaking to a blogger (not me), allegedly speaking to a judge, and something about "sniper" (just a cheap personal attack on the accused). This serves as a warning shot or — pardon the pun — sniping of a staff representative to scare all others. If this doesn’t constitute union-busting, what is?
“Battistelli was trouble for the EPO all along.”Battistelli must be furious that his power over the delegates is rapidly eroding, so he looks for a scapegoat and tries to demonstrate his alleged superpower in order to restore his old reign of terror. History teaches that moves such as these are short-lived and doomed to fail. But who are the sacrificial lambs to be martyred?
Battistelli was trouble for the EPO all along. It’s him and his new high-level recruits that need to go, not the decades-long representatives of staff, whose endorsement/popularity among staff was very much evident in recent public protests. █
Today we released our 2014 global event schedule. Back in 2007, we created The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit because I could see a unique opportunity to bring together the developers, industry leaders and end users (largely from the enterprise) who were creating this thing we called Linux. We knew that face-to-face collaboration amongst disparate yet aligned groups could reap great rewards. Soon we were adding developers and companies from the world of mobile, then embedded computing, then cloud computing, then automotive to events first in North America, then Asia, then Europe. Basically everywhere Linux has gone, we have gone.
The 2014 events schedule, which includes LinuxCon and CloudOpen in North America and Europe, as well as the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, Embedded Linux Conference, Android Builders Summit and ApacheCon, among others. LinuxCon and CloudOpen North America will take place this year in Chicago and will be co-located with the Linux Kernel Summit. LinuxCon and CloudOpen Europe will be in Duesseldorf, Germany, along with Embedded Linux Conference, KVM Forum and Linux Plumbers Conference.
If having your own conference means you’ve made it as a software project, the developers of OpenDaylight, the open source software-defined networking (SDN) platform, will be celebrating next month. On Feb. 4-5, the inaugral OpenDaylight Summit will take place in Santa Clara, Calif., highlighting the significant backing that the collaborative software project enjoys as SDN becomes an increasingly important part of enterprise computing.
The GStreamer Conference 2013 videos and slides are now available online for anyone curious about GStreamer and OpenGL, Linux multimedia enhancements coming, the Opus and Daala free codecs, PulseAudio, and other open-source media topics.
Since the first issue of Linux User appeared at the end of the last century, the free software community has grown and evolved – bringing in open data, free culture, open hardware – and the nature of its events has changed. The Linux Expo, and Linux User Expo, events of the past were huge corporate affairs, but the coffers of the big companies enabled the .ORG Village to run alongside, providing space for dozens of FOSS projects and organisations.
Summary: Bill Gates’ agenda in US education takes further steps and the Huffington Post calls Bill Gates “the most dangerous man in America”
THE Gates Foundation is intervening a great deal in matters which were originally assigned to government agencies and state workers. This is bad news to democracy and good news for Microsoft.
Some people may recall Microsoft’s “school of the future” push, which we last mentioned over a month ago [1, 2]. The name is designed to imply that Microsoft is the only future in schools and the company is using the same old tricks to advance itself with PR at homes (“Home of the future”).
Bill Gates himself is meanwhile seen changing (“reforming” is often a euphemism of choice) the schooling system in the United States. When it comes to influence in education, nobody else seems to have more impact these days and informed individuals are not happy about it:
Skeptics say the Microsoft founder is foisting a business-driven agenda on schools without understanding the challenges of public education. “I suspect that eight years from now, the Gates Foundation will say, ‘Whoops, we made another big boo-boo. What should we do now?’ ” education historian Diane Ravitch said.
And just three days after being subjected to that humiliation in his hometown of Seattle, the Washington Post rushed in to his defense. Bright and early on the morning of Monday, July 12, WaPo readers opened their papers to find the following: “Gates Foundation playing pivotal role in changes for education system.”
Of course, it is especially important to note that both Melinda Gates and Warren E. Buffett, who is a major donor to the Gates Foundation, sit on the board of directors of The Washington Post Co.
The reason Bill Gates was heckled by a group of teacher protesters during his appearance at the AFT convention is because they oppose the enormous role which the Gates Foundation is playing re the privatization of public education and the weakening of the teachers’ unions. Among other efforts, the foundation has poured millions of dollars into supporting mayoral control, dismantling neighborhood schools, and expanding charter schools. These teachers labeled Gates as a “Trojan Horse in the AFT House.”
The day following his AFT appearance, Leonie Haimson called Gates “The most dangerous man in America,” a Huffington Post piece which widely circulated in the edu-blogosphere.
A Monday post by Norm Scott (a retired teacher, reporter, and activist in NYC) discussed AFT President Randi Weingarten’s reaction to the anti-Gates protest, as well as the way in which other teachers at the convention ridiculed and shunned the protesters.
That sub-total comes to $9,471,378. Without any doubt, the Gates Foundation is a primary supporter of a wide range of organizations which are working in unison to replace unionized public schools with non-unionized charter schools.This effort has been going on for some time.
The teacher protesters in Seattle and a few assorted individuals aren’t the only ones alarmed by the power and influence of Bill Gates and his foundation. A number of people involved with world health are also deeply concerned about the nature of the impact which the Gates Foundation is having in their arena. It would behoove those who pooh-pooh and ridicule the Gates’ critics to read the 2008 report by Global Health Watch.
Our public education system, its schools, and the profession of public K-12 teaching are intentionally being eroded by Bill Gates and others, in the name of “helping” children. And, as as far as the teachers go, a huge group of them has no good reason to believe that their leader is protecting them.
The only big surprise among the finalists was Arizona, which finished 40th in Round 1. But education policy bloggers suspect that their application this time around was strengthened by involvement from the Gates foundation—Bill and his wife Melinda have become key players in the education reform world, guiding the agenda with their millions of foundation dollars.
Faliero, 47, has no major accomplishment to point to, and she seems preoccupied with the anecdotal instead of the bigger picture. Stacy White, a 37-year old pharmacist, voices a legitimate concern that the Gates project might weaken local control.
Jefferson Co. seems like another target for Gates as money starts arriving [1, 2] (“Jeffco schools get almost $1 million from Gates Foundation”) and there is more lobbying on such matters, as usual:
National teachers union brings ideas to Seattl
Bill Gates, an avid supporter of charter schools, which are mostly not unionized, was invited to speak to the conference on Saturday.
Should school “reforms” be guided by elected officials rather than private power? Ravitch sure seems to think so [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].
“Gates Foundation playing pivotal role in changes for education system,” says another new headline from the Washington Post. Externally, one article innocently states that the “Washington Post Examines Gates Foundation’s Influence on Education Reform” (it actually promotes it rather than examine it). █
Summary: Pretty boring week for Novell, but for those looking for events, here is an overview
LIKE MANY recent weeks, the past week has been exceptionally quiet, but we managed to find minor news involving Novell. Groklaw was apparently the only site that has kept track of the SCO case over the past week. There are two short articles about it:
n the following video, Miguel de Icaza explains Mono. The video is from 2004. He mentions nothing about software patents and he sure praises the technology and assumes that being an ECMA standard is somewhat an indication of being ‘safe’. It's not.
We have already gone through this conference last week, essentially by keeping record of announcements and articles. Here are a few which reaches the press a tad late (after Sunday). We need to have this documented for future reference, particularly where relationships between companies are studied. It is also useful to show that we do not ignore Novell’s more positive news. We just present that separately.
It has competed hard with the likes of Microsoft and IBM, but over the years Novell has remained a smaller player than either of its two main rivals.
This is just a press release, but the news is tied to Novell’s GroupWise.
Snowtide Informatics Systems, Inc., the leading provider of enterprise-class PDF content extraction solutions, today announced that GWAVA, the premier source for innovative Novell GroupWise solutions has licensed Snowtide’s PDFTextStream library for inclusion in its Retain email archiving product.
ActivIdentity Corporation announced today that the integration of the ActivIdentity Smart Employee ID and the Novell Identity Assurance Solution will be demonstrated at BrainShare 2008, showcasing the next generation in physical-logical access convergence solutions.
ActivIdentity Corp., Fremont, Calif., and Novell Inc., Waltham, Mass., have combined products that may make it easier for corporation to use one ID card for both physical and logical access, the companies announced.
From Novell, the following generic and broad announcement was made:
Responding to customer needs for a seamless end-to-end identity and
security infrastructure, Novell today announced seven new vendors have
joined its identity and security management technology partner ecosystem.
Enterprises today are faced with defending against increasing security
threats and meeting compliance in a complex and heterogeneous IT
environment. By teaming with these vendors, Novell helps customers
cost-effectively increase security and streamline their identity
infrastructure by delivering a broader choice of solutions. Products from
the new partners, when combined with Novell’s identity and security
management offerings, will enable enterprises to further leverage Novell’s
solutions to solve specific business challenges.
Another company that works with Novell in this area is Layer 7 Technologies, which issued this press release.
Layer 7 Technologies, a leading provider of security and governance solutions for Service Oriented integration architectures, today announced a go-to-market partnership with Novell to secure programmatic Web services, leveraging Novell eDirectory and Novell Access Manager identity solutions.
The Blackbird Group today announced it has joined Novell’s identity and security management partner ecosystem. Under the terms of the agreement, Novell’s global sales channel will market and recommend Blackbird’s DeTroubler for their customers’ directory backup and recovery needs as part of Novell’s identity and security management framework.
About a fortnight ago we saw a success story in a hotel (or a chain thereof). Here is a timely article about this.
The Novell-led Bandit project aims to address the challenges of cost effectively connecting disparate systems in the hotel and hospitality sector while streamlining administration and meeting compliance requirements.
Firms operating in the compliance market have enjoyed some good form of late with companies such as Dublin-based Norkom performing well. The Bear Stearns incident might yet create more opportunities in this market as regulators could crack down even further, meaning that bad news for the market might be good news for firms such as Novell.
Backup Express from Syncsort Incorporated is now available for Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 (Linux). The seamless integration of the two solutions allows joint customers to successfully protect their data, applications and servers while also taking advantage of the Xen-based NetWare paravirtualization available in OES2.
Moonwalk announced its latest Moonwalk software suite, with support for Novell’s Open Enterprise Server 2 (OES2).
Novell’s Open Enterprise Server 2 combines workgroup services from Novell with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, completing the Open Enterprise Server shift to providing workgroup services entirely on Linux. It includes dynamic storage technology for user-defined policies, storage management enhancements and Netware virtualization.
Guys and Dolls… and Muppets
There were quite a few puns available here and bloggers took the opprtunity. Novell hooked up with Sesame Street.
Novell today announced that Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind the ground-breaking children’s television program “Sesame Street,” has selected Novell to streamline its hardware and software infrastructure. Using Novell® ZENworks® Asset Management, which provides a complete and accurate view of the organization’s software licenses, inventories and usage, Sesame Workshop is now better able to comply with audit requests and properly manage its leasing contracts. By consolidating its Web server infrastructure using Xen* virtualization on SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server, Sesame Workshop is lowering server hardware costs, increasing flexibility and enabling its data center to dynamically respond to the needs of its business.
Watch how sys-con.com, home of O’Gara 007, merely rewrites that press release to make a bogus ‘article’. Compare the words below to the ones above.
Novell announced that Sesame Workshop has selected Novell to streamline its hardware and software infrastructure. Using Novell ZENworks Asset Management, Sesame Workshop is now better able to comply with audit requests and properly manage its leasing contracts.
Very original, sys-con.com. We will soon show another example.
Novell has positioned its ZenWorks systems and identity management product line as a central piece to its newly unveiled “Fossa Project” strategy, which aims to turn compute infrastructure into collaboration infrastructure.
“Enterprise computing will change and we will be at the center of it,” said Jeff Jaffe, Novell’s CTO, said during the opening keynote of the company’s annual Brainshare conference. He said the key word would be “agility,” which he said would be defined in large part by policy and identity enablement within the Novell infrastructure software stack.
The company said its new strategy, code-named Fossa, aims to allow companies to dynamically assign workloads to server resources within their datacentres. It will also include enhancements to Novell’s virtualisation, Linux, orchestration, policy, identity, compliance, and collaboration tools.
Jeff Jaffe, Novell’s CTO and EVP of business units, outlined the company’s technical vision at this week’s BrainShare 2008 conference in Salt Lake City, codenamed The Fossa Project. Jaffe explained that a fossa is an agile, cat-like animal native to Madagascar with no known predators. Fossa, he mentioned, also serves well as an acronym for “Free and Open Source Software with Agility.”
The third (and last) part is on its way. It requires more editing. Apologies for all the typos. █