Bonum Certa Men Certa

Open EPO Letter Bemoans Battistelli's Antisocial Autocracy Disguised/Camouflaged Under the Misleading Term “Social Democracy”

The very antithesis of the Office under Battistelli's horrible regime...

Social democracy
Reference: Social democracy



Summary: Orwellian misuse of terms by the EPO, which keeps using the term "social democracy" whilst actually pushing further and further towards a totalitarian regime led by 'King' Battistelli

STAFF of the EPO is suffering. Staff representatives suffer even more.



The following Open Letter, published earlier this year, helps reveal just to what extent the union-busting activities of Battistelli have contributed to fear and erosion of staff representation in an institution that, without these safeguards, is basically no better than North Korea, with Battistelli as its "Supreme Leader". To perfume it a little, Team Battistelli attempted to hijack adopt the term "Social Democracy" (something akin to the term used by Bernie Sanders in the US and in various other countries). Here is the letter in full (except the names of representatives, as they are already subjected to enough abuse from Battistelli and his goons):

Open Letter

Mr Benoît Battistelli President of the EPO

ISAR - R.1081

Dear Mr Battistelli,

The so-called "Social democracy" was one of the policies introduced in July 2014 under the HR roadmap (CA/39/14), with claimed goals to “fill a legal vacuum, adapt and modernise [the EPO] social framework and provide improvements for a more efficient management of the Office.”..

After almost 2 years of implementing these policies none of these goals have materialised. Quite to the contrary and as pointed out by the AC in its recent resolution, the reality is a social situation that gives reasons for grave concern and has been acknowledged as a crisis, not only internally but by the media and other external, interested circles. The conclusion is that this situation is unsustainable and action will be required to meet the challenges set by the AC in its March resolution.

1. “Social Democracy” has a flawed design

The shortcomings of the “social democracy framework” have been pointed out repeatedly by the CSC and SUEPO, both during the statutory (albeit formally superficial) consultation processes and in diverse publications since its introduction, all to no avail.

A non-exhaustive list of unanswered communications is set out in the Annex.

2. Actual “Social democracy” is even worse than anticipated

Unfortunately, the reality of “Social Democracy” has gone well beyond Staff’s already pessimistic forecast. Just to cite some key points (see the CSC letter to the AC for more details):

- Despite all the promises made, the effective time allocated to Staff representation work has been reduced by well over 50% compared to historical figures (in accordance with Communiqué 49, the framework formerly in place). Internal documents show that this is not an accident but according to plan.

- Despite declarations that the new framework would “enhance the representativity and functions of both the Central and Local Staff Committees, regular arbitrary restrictions on nominations, duty travel and training have led to substantial disruptions to the internal functioning of these staff representation bodies. To summarise, staff representatives have been systematically hindered in organizing themselves in an autonomous, independent manner.

- The existing provisions for filling vacated positions, have not been followed: for instance, Mr Brevier (CSC deputy member from The Hague) has still not been allowed, since October 2014, to replace a CSC full member who resigned, He is still not allowed to dedicate 100% of his time for Staff Representative duties, due to an investigation, initiated by Ms Bergot now more than a year ago.

- Other staff representatives have also been targeted by the same and other investigations, which have already resulted in disciplinary procedures, the dismissal of two elected staff representatives and the downgrading of another one. These sanctions have been perceived as political rather than legal actions and were commented to be unfair and disproportionate disciplinary measures by both the media and the AC.

- Many Staff Representatives have in the meantime resigned because of perceived pressure (threats) from the administration and undue work pressure from their hierarchy. Of those remaining, many have suffered severe damage to their health, resulting in e.g. sickness, depressions or even burn-out.

To conclude, the work environment for staff representatives has become unsustainable. Maintaining the present framework amounts to harassment, is irresponsible and has led to severe damages both to the functioning of the institution representing Staff interests in the EPO and to the health of the individuals acting therein.

3. Negligent, unsustainable and not fit to meet the clear challenges set by the AC

The so-called “Social-Democracy” framework no longer allows the nomination of non-elected staff representatives to any working groups and statutory bodies. This has led to a situation where grooming of new staff representatives and delegation of work are impossible.

Combined with unfilled positions, due to resignations and dismissals, the result is today, that particularly in the big sites, the effective work capacity of available “fully fit and functional” staff representatives has reached an all-time low, which is not compatible with their duty to fully represent staff interests. More pertinently, this has become an issue of great concern in the context of the request made by the AC in its March resolution.

Clearly the situation is not sustainable in the long run and urgent action is required both to protect the health of the individual staff representatives and their capacity to genuinely and thoroughly represent staff interests.

4. Urgent action required: request authorisation to delegate work to non-elected Staff members

In the medium term, an in-depth review of the so-called "social democracy" is not only expected but required. The CSC is of the opinion that essential features of Communiqué 49 should be reconsidered and built in to the framework to overcome the obvious shortcomings of the present framework and render it more in line with democratic, best-practice standards used in similar international organisations in western civilisations.

In the short term, urgent action is required now to redistribute the workload. Hence the CSC herewith requests the President to immediately allow Staff Committees to delegate autonomously tasks to non-elected staff representatives as experts and to provide the necessary time to adequately compensate them.

The Central Staff Committee would like to stress that the Office’s apparent lack of due diligence on this matter, i.e. not following the recommendations outlined above, will continue to seriously jeopardise the announced negotiation process. It constitutes institutional harassment of the staff representation and, if continued, may lead to further complaints.

Yours sincerely,

The Central Staff Committee

We confirm that this letter was legitimately decided and produced by the Central Staff Committee1.

_____ 1 Pursuant to Article 35(3) ServRegs, the Central Staff Committee shall consist of ten full and ten alternate members.

The CSC presently consists of 9 full and 8 alternate members, because two have resigned in December 2014, one has been dismissed in January 2016 (against the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee) and one refused replacement of a full member against Article 7(3) of Circular 355.

One full member of the CSC has been downgraded in Jan 2016 (against the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee). In fact, the Office has launched investigations and disciplinary procedures against several other Staff representatives as well, affecting negatively their health.

[...]

cc.: Principal Director 4.3 Members of the WG SR resources Council Secretariat

Annex:

Non-exhaustive list of communications on the shortcomings and events of the so-called “Social-Democracy”:

- 23/06/2015 social democracy: staff representation dismantling is on track! - 18/03/2015 [csc] letter to heads of delegation; restoration of social dialogue at the epo - 08/12/2014 social democracy vs social peace - 14/10/2014 [csc] battistelli's "social democracy" - staff representatives banned from attending the administrative council for the first time in the history of the office - 24/03/2014 letter to the members of the admin. council " 'social democracy' will be quickly outdated" - 24/03/2014 letter to ac delegations - "social democracy" - mr battistelli's reform of the staff representation - 24/01/2014 meeting the president 27.01.14 - social democracy - 18/12/2013 trias politicabeyond the problems, the way out: "feuille de route" for social democracy by suepo - 23/10/2014 [csc] the organisation of your central staff committee - 26/05/2014 letter of vp1 to the local and central staff committee of 26.05.2014 - social democracy in progress - 02/04/2014 reform of staff representation "social democracy" - 12/03/2014 opinion of the members of the gac appointed by the staff committee on gac/doc 7/2014 - "social democracy" - 14/03/2014 report of the 257th meeting of the gac on 4.3.2014 in the hague - 21/02/2014 letter to mr r. lutz - request concerning "gac 7/14 - social democracy" - 07/02/2014 social democracy reform of mr battistell - 05/12/2013 letter to b. battistelli: working group social democracy


The exploitation or misuse of the term "social democracy" is rather gross. There is neither of those two things at today's EPO. Battistelli does not understand democracy and probably never will. As staff representatives put it earlier this year [PDF] in another context, "President Battistelli has broken an EPO promise to staff to be properly involved in the management process in a Healthcare Insurance Advisory Committee in exchange for the additional risk put on them. President Battistelli seems to dislike advice: not only has he failed to create HIAC, he disbanded General Advisory Committee (GAC) and replaced it with the General Consultative Committee which, although fully populated by Vice-Presidents, is an inferior statutory body when compared to the GAC."

In other words, Battistelli allows only Team Battistelli, i.e. those totally loyal to him, to decide on matters that don't even involve them. It's neither social nor democratic.

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