Why the Letter in Support of Battistelli is Worse Than a Lie and Should be Thrown to the Wastebasket by the Organisation’s Administrative Council
A replacement to Battistelli should be chosen before the damage becomes irreparable
Summary: The letter in ‘support’ of Battistelli is not a genuine letter of support, the imminent strike is under attack (more so after the FFPE-EPO MoU), and new rumours about Battistelli’s successor are beginning to circulate (Christoph Ernst, on the left)
THERE is no denying that the EPO (both the Office and the Organisation) are in a state of crisis, but a lot of it can be resolved if the Organisation removes Team Battistelli from the Office. The folly has gone way too far and it’s time to undo the coup. The EPO (Organisation) needs to start afresh and acknowledge this past failure to the world, including to stakeholders whose money keeps the EPO alive.
Christina Schulze wrote yet another strongly-worded article about Benoît Battistelli over at Juve (translations would be more than welcome) while other German (or Austrian) media did something similar this week, with few exceptions*. Thankfully, despite all the propaganda (notably unions and results), the press stays focused on the real stories, not the distractions from FTI Consulting (peripheral PR reinforcement) and the EPO's in-house PR team that habitually resorts to lying.
“The folly has gone way too far and it’s time to undo the coup.”Some talking points, other than the unions and results, say that Battistelli magically won back the support of the Council. This is a lie.
“What PD Roberta Romano G is up to,” according to our source, is no good. According to information that we privately received, “PD Roberta Romano-Götsch abuses her position as principal director to “volunteer” subordinates to sign the letter in support of Battistelli. Dozens have been intimidated into signing the letter. Collecting signatures under duress is a scandal in an international organization that should lead by example. My prayer to the AC: deliver us from Battistelli!”
“Thankfully, despite all the propaganda (notably unions and results), the press stays focused on the real stories, not the distractions from FTI Consulting (peripheral PR reinforcement) and the EPO’s in-house PR team that habitually resorts to lying.”Reading between the lines and looking deeper inside documents, we have learned that Battistelli gets Minnoye’s help in this crisis. This isn’t too shocking given Minnoye's epic television appearance. “These event triggered several reactions from the Office management,” we heard. “First, between Thursday 18.02 to 23.02, the President and in first instance the VP of DG1, Mr. Minnoye started a call to all managers to stand behind them as one man by signing a petition at the attention of the AC. As far as we are informed the signature reaction is, at best, sluggish. In the majority of the Office, the managers seem to be unwilling to sign the call. Secondly on Friday 19, the head of HR (PD 4.3) invited all elected Staff Committee members (central and local) to a meeting on Wednesday 25.”
This is very much indicative of a disaster.
“Some talking points, other than the unions and results, say that Battistelli magically won back the support of the Council. This is a lie.”There is a strike coming (Battistelli keeps spinning this in the media by saying there were no strikes last year) and Team Battistelli is trying quite aggressively to prevent the strike from happening (see these documents which we published last night — mentioned before, now available as text). It may seem expected, but such moves mostly serve to alienate the staff and motivate stronger action against the management which strives to prevent basis rights, such as the right to strike.
Someone has leaked to us a CSC (Central Staff Committee) document which we present below without comment:
Information on the call for strike “Lawfulness at the EPO”
As a reaction to the recent disciplinary procedures and resulting decisions of the President to dismiss two elected Staff Representatives and to severely downgrade a third, a call for strike was formally initiated mid-January across the Office. The petitioners mandated an external lawyer to act on their behalf as their interlocutor, but the Office refused to accept this nomination, although they did not provide any legal basis for this. The lawyer therefore proposed to delegate his mandate to the CSC for all further action with regard to any upcoming procedural steps foreseen by the EPO administration. The CSC has informed the Administration that we agreed to act as interlocutor for the strike petitioners.
In a meeting on 24 February, the Staff Representation met the Administration, headed by PD 4.3, to discuss the claims raised in the call for strike. Coincidentally and in parallel to this channel, similar requests to the ones raised by the strike petitioners have been made by the Board 28.
Results of the exchange of views
a. Immediate suspension of the disciplinary measures
The administration merely referred to the option for the disciplined colleagues to file requests for review of the decisions and, if necessary, ultimately address their cases to the ILOAT. They showed no intention to quickly deescalate the current, tense situation by suspending these measures straightaway.
b. Independent review of the disciplinary cases
The Administration asserted to be in full compliance with Office rules and therefore saw no need to comply with this request.
c. Revocation of recent changes to Service Regulations
The Administration – without any substantial discussion on any of the listed reforms – claimed that a social study was underway which would identify defects and deficiencies which could then be worked in collaboration with all stakeholders. Apparently, revocation of any of the reforms is not an option.
d. Use of a Mediator to facilitate negotiations between the management and staff representatives
The Administration commented that “Mediation is a waste of time” and saw no need to engage any external support to resolve the current deadlock.
No meaningful progress has been made during this meeting with regards to the requests as set out in the call for strike. Therefore, a strike ballot will take place on 8 March 2016.
“For the strike ballot” we learned, “the CSC nominated two staff members to overview the process. On the background of key-loggers and other recent past events, the confidentiality of the vote cannot be guaranteed at this stage. The Administration declared that if the turn out was low, this was simply a “sign of lack of support” for the claims.”
“It may seem expected, but such moves mostly serve to alienate the staff and motivate stronger action against the management which strives to prevent basis rights, such as the right to strike. “So there is pressure to vote, not boycott the vote and go on strike in spite of it. This is union-busting again.
“It was declared that the administration saw no necessity,” we learned, “and had no me to run a paper ballot. And again, the SR took note that the simple administrative request made by the CSC to make sure the exercise was meaningful was turned down by the administration. As a general conclusion, the SR assembled expressed their disappointment that the attempt to find common ground had failed and that the organisation of the strike ballot should proceed.”
“This is union-busting again.”Any outsider can see what Battistelli thinks not only of unions but also of democracy. No wonder he's with Sarkozy. Although it may be too early to say anything about Battistelli’s expected departure (whether by resignation of by sacking), one reader pointed to this article and said that “the last passage of the article is the most interesting: ‘Tatsächlich kursiert bereits der Name eines möglichen Nachfolgers an der Amtsspitze, der des deutschen Verwaltungsratsmitglieds Christoph Ernst aus dem Bundesjustizministerium. Battistelli selbst, so ist zu hören, soll das für ausgeschlossen halten. Er sei allerbester Laune, heißt es.’”
“It says that there are already rumours about the next president who’s supposed to be the German representative Christoph Ernst from the federal ministry of justice,” we were told. “This is new rumour and if we add this article to the BR programme one can imagine that there are some forces behind. It is rumoured that there are already 22 delegations in favour of ousting Battistelli. All will be decided probably soon.
“Any outsider can see what Battistelli thinks not only of unions but also of democracy.”“One could say: The sooner the better (for everybody). The longer the thing drags on, the angrier the delegations will be and Battistelli’s conditions will get worse.”
Based on the EPO’s own site, Christoph Ernst was “elected chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee” less than a year ago (
epo.org link), so presumably he knows Battistelli’s real salary. Mr. Kongstad knows it too. █
* At least one English language paper is writing about Austria and repeats the EPO's latest propaganda (ignoring the real story), plus the German-speaking Austrian press, in addition to few other publications that we cited here before, the latest being the Financial Times (London).