Bonum Certa Men Certa

At the EPO, Lawlessness Has Become “a New Normal”

I'll let you off this time... and this time...



Summary: Without as much as a real consultation with those who are impacted (by the EPO's gross infringements) the management of the EPO rushes ahead again, enjoying zero oversight, no legal review, and no accountability or scrutiny of any kind

Days ago SUEPO linked to this article about the 'New Normal' at the EPO (it now contains 12 comments and no further comments can be accepted). As we noted months ago, "[u]sing the typical euphemisms, which have become all but familiar, the crooked management of the EPO is looking to retroactively justify its violations of the law" and days ago we added (on the same subject) that "[u]nder the cover of 'new normal', Europe’s second-largest institution crushes the law and crushes its own staff..."



Metronome: We obey the law; We're above the lawNow according to the staff representatives (already partly besieged by António Campinos; both Benoît Battistelli and Campinos blacklisted SUEPO), they aren't allowed to play a role at all. It's just a 'box-ticking' exercise, as EPO staff representatives habitually call it. It's supposed to give the false impression that the staff played a role in shaping those policies and yesterday the 'news' section of the EPO's Web site gave the false impression that stakeholders play a role. (warning: epo.org link)

"...the autocrats who run the Office don't give a damn about staff's input; their agenda is guided by mega-corporations and plutocrats, not 'mere' examiners."Someone has kindly passed to us the latest letter, dated 4 days ago, in which the Central Staff Committee of the EPO said: "In his intranet announcement of 18 March 2021, the President informed you (and us) that he would include the Staff Representation in the consultation process before the draft on “New Normal” is finalised (only). This is unsettling. In this open letter, the Central Staff Committee (CSC) recalls that the Staff Representation remains his main social partner (and his only statutory partner). We will do our utmost to contribute to the shaping of “New Normal” in the interest of staff and for a sustainable Organisation. We are waiting for him and his Administration to be up to “one of the greatest challenges [our Office] has probably ever encountered in its history” and finally start the dialogue on the changes that will most impact the working conditions of staff in the years to come."

If one looks at the actual letter, it's phrased more diplomatically than that and it's probably asking for the impossible; the autocrats who run the Office don't give a damn about staff's input; their agenda is guided by mega-corporations and plutocrats, not 'mere' examiners.

Here's the content of the letter:

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Mr António Campinos President of the EPO

ISAR - R.1081

OPEN LETTER

Reference: sc21048cl-0.3.1/1.3.1 Date: 16.04.2021

“Towards a New Normal” orientation document
The Staff Representation is ready for dialogue



Dear Mr President

Thank you for your reply of 31 March 2021 to our letter of 15 February. You refer to the New Normal orientation document, which was published on 18 March on the EPO intranet and made available to the Staff Representation on the same day. Despite the fact that it omits details, the New Normal orientation document clearly hints towards a massive change and restructuring of our entire Organisation. The working conditions of all staff are at stake and the entire workforce at the EPO is affected.

Consequently, we perceive your statement to include the Staff Representation in the consultation process, before [the draft] is finalised as unsettling. We request that the social dialogue be immediately started in order to discuss all relevant topics. A fruitful dialogue is essential in order to reach a common understanding on the “New Normal”, which is a prerequisite before addressing the detailed elements, as you put it in your letter. A postponement of the discussion with the Staff Representation until near completion of the document would be counterproductive for the project.

In the interest of the EPO staff, for the good-functioning of the Office and for the benefit of the Organisation, we consider that the following non-exhaustive list of topics needs to be discussed with us as a matter of urgency, and in the appropriate level of detail:

- Digitisation of the work processes (e.g. Minimum viable product (MVP) approach) - Building policy (e.g. definition of workspaces, health-related spaces and installations, etc.) - Teleworking - Working conditions (all topics linked to the Service Regulations affected by the New Normal) - One EPO community in the context of physical distances and remote working

We, the Staff Representation, remain your main social partner (and your only statutory partner). We will do our utmost to contribute to the shaping of “New Normal” in the interest of staff and for a sustainable Organisation. We are waiting for you and your Administration to be up to “one of the greatest challenges [our Office] has probably ever encountered in its history” and finally start the dialogue on the changes that will most impact the working conditions of staff in the years to come. We are ready.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont Chairman of the Central Staff Committee


There's probably lots more to come on this topic in days/weeks to come. The EPO is doing illegal things and the media brushes many scandals aside, in effect acting in collaboration (or complicity) with the Office. All those human rights and labour rights abuses wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for the corruption of Europe's press (some of which used to cover those sorts of things, but not anymore).

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