Bonum Certa Men Certa

Europe’s Second-Largest Institution (the EPO) is Sabotaging Itself by Repelling Staff

Video download link | md5sum 2ff9c77c62a9c226be271a351c1b46bc Defunding Future, Present, and Past Examiners Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Disenfranchising the workforce of the EPO certainly seems or feels like the goal; as things stand, there will be ongoing conflict and further declines in patent validity/quality (the EPO is meanwhile trying to replace the courts which judge European Patents, instead introducing an illegal kangaroo court which fails to meet basic constitutional requirements)

THE EPO's staff union, SUEPO (or SUEPO Central to be precise; it covers all cities) circulated a letter regarding the diminishing salaries of staff. It's not an entirely new problem. We saw that under Benoît Battistelli (who went further by limiting terms/contracts) and we saw even more of that under António Campinos, especially since the pandemic started.

Predating Russia's invasion of Ukraine (and massive inflation) the EPO froze salaries and pensions. With an inflation rate like 10% (or decrease of about 10% in purchasing power each year), the salaries and pensions have in some sense been reduced by 10%. How can that be justified?

At the end of last week SUEPO issued the following statement, which is discussed in the video above. To quote:

12 May 2023 su23024cp 0.2.1 – 5.2

Appeals against the freeze of remuneration with effect of 1 January 2022 – test-case procedure

Dear SUEPO members,

In July 2022, SUEPO provided model appeals to its members for challenging the Salary Adjustment Procedure and its implementation for 2022 resulting in a zero adjustment of salaries and pensions. Many of you lodged internal appeals on this basis.

Recently, the Appeals Committee sent emails to appellants in this regard with reference to RI/2022/031-xxx (active staff) and RI/2022/032-xxx (pensioners). They asked the appellants on their opinion on the suitability of a test-case procedure and as to their wish to volunteer as test appellant.

For the sake of procedural efficiency, SUEPO considers a test-case procedure adequate. The law firm which SUEPO entrusted with the appeals will inform the Appeals Committee that they are ready to represent mandators of the already existing groups of test appellants in a test-case procedure.

SUEPO is of the opinion that with the appellants to be nominated by the law firm, enough volunteers are available for the test-case procedure. In our view, it is therefore not necessary for further appellants to volunteer to take part in the test-case procedure. Should you still wish to become a test appellant, we kindly ask you to contact your SUEPO Local Bureau.

Your SUEPO Central Bureau

As noted in the video, they are even punishing people who never knew or worked for Battistelli. We published leaks about it a year before the freeze. How does the EPO plan to actually recruit much-needed examiners? Unless that's not the goal at all.

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