04.08.16

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Why 2,657 EPO Workers Going on Strike is Actually a Lot Less Than Would Strike If It Wasn’t for Obstructions From Team Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are many well-documented techniques for suppressing strikes, including yellow unions like FFPE-EPO

Scabs
Source: Strikebreaker

Summary: Official figures from the European Patent Office (EPO) don’t tell the full story about the extent of unrest at the Office, as a reader explained to us earlier today

THE European Patent Office had its biggest day of strike yesterday, but it would be a lot bigger if it wasn’t for dirty tactics from Battistelli and his goons. We already wrote several articles about strike suppression (like voter suppression) tactics and hereon we have some more information about the latest such tactics. The media in the UK wrote at least two articles about the strike. The second we found says that 2,657 is the exact number of people who were officially on strike. To quote the relevant parts: “More than 2,600 staff at the European Patent Office (EPO) went on strike yesterday, in what an EPO source has claimed is the highest number of strikers the office has seen. According to the source, 2,078 employees were on strike for the full day, while 579 people went on a half-day strike. The total number of strikers throughout the day stood at 2,657 across the EPO’s four sites. In 2014, 1,455 of the office’s staff went on strike.”

But the real question is, how many people wanted to go on strike but couldn’t? “FYI,” one reader told us, “EPO strike figures” aren’t the full story. Here is the message in full:

According to the official strike numbers, published by PD HR Elodie Bergot on 8 April 2016, in total 2.657 EPO employees were registered on strike on 7 April (2.078 full-day, 579 half-day). This seems to be the highest official strike turnout ever reached by EPO staff and corresponds to almost 40% of the currently about 6.800 EPO employees. To compare with, the highest previous official strike figure (at least since Mr Battistelli became president) , as of 20 November 2014, was 2.537. At the time, Florian Mueller reported that “2,538 staff representing 36.7% of the workforce” participated in the strike (« http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/12/european-patent-office-examiners.html »).

As usual, managers, manager assistants, probationers, sick employees, staff working for the administration or providing infrastructure services were not authorised to strike. EPO management used a number of tricks to hinder employees to go on strike on 7 April, for example by scheduling meetings for that day and by applying their usual intimidation tactics. And this week, (presumably) several hundred staff members at the branch in Rijswijk were on leave due to the holidays of the British School at The Hague, and did not have the opportunity to go on strike.

Considering this, more than half of those who had the possibility to walk out, were on strike on Thursday 7 April 2016. This shows that the motivation to go on strike must have been extremely high this time.

The strike figures put pressure on the EPO president and will certainly have an influence on the Administrative Council’s “Board 28” meeting scheduled for next week.

What can one deduce from this? 1) a lot of EPO workers are so upset at the management that they’re willing to take personal risk and pay cut. 2) the EPO’s management continues to use all sorts of dirty tricks to prevent workers from exercising their right to protest/strike (retribution/reprisal notwithstanding). 3) it’s time to sack Battistelli next week as the crisis only deepens and Battistelli has done virtually nothing he was asked to do three weeks ago (no point waiting another 2 months).

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