07.10.17

Subtle Shaming of EPO Staff by EPO Management Earlier Today

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO strike shaming

Summary: How a popular strike against the management of the EPO got spun as improvement in the social climate

THE EPO was on strike a week ago, after nearly 90% of staff had voted for a strike (among the ~40% of staff which was brave enough and informed enough to go vote on it).

After human rights violations by Battistelli, including persistent attacks on staff representatives, abolishment of the rights of staff/strikers etc. we see them do this obligatory but unprecedented strike-shaming (warning: epo.org link). “A low rate of participation by staff was registered,” it says.

Someone told us in the comments that about 20% were on strike, but the EPO, as usual, found its “alternative facts”.

It’s worth noting that the EPO’s managers and communications people hadn’t even mentioned anything about the strikes anywhere (barely even internally) until they found a strike-shaming angle/spin. Disgusting and insulting, not just to those who participated.

As can be seen above, the subliminal message is, workers are now happy and it’s business as usual. The subtext is gross as it’s another spit in the face of EPO staff.

Looking at some new anonymous comments, people are certainly not happy. “Given that the administrative council appears to be solidly backing Battistelli, it does seem that he [Battistelli] is not the only problem,” one person wrote.

Another person said: “Given that the national representatives are clearly listed on EPO site, and I’m sure there are commentards from each European nation represented in EPO – it’s not really that difficult to send an email to your national EPO rep and ask what the hell is going on!”

The next comment said: “If they can’t even fire a dictator in a European-run company, how the heck are we supposed to deal with dictators of countries??”

That’s a typical argument that’s often heard from/used by Eurosceptics.

“I know he’s claiming that as it’s an international organisation,” said the next comment, “they’re immune from local laws, but that’s bollocks right? Surely any organisation has to adhere to the labour laws of the country they’re employing people in? I suppose they can just refuse to pay up even if an employment tribunal finds them guilty of (eg) withholding pay.”

Well, they already withhold pay in some cases and even threaten to take away people’s pensions. They use these threats to blackmail people.

“I doubt things will improve with a new president,” the next comment said. Here it is in full:

The EPO is a bit of a weird one in that all countries participating agreed that it would remain outside the jurisdiction of one specific country, lest it give the country the EPO settled in some form of legislative control over the organisation, possibly forcing it to rule in it’s favour. This means the EPO staff does not fall under Dutch labour laws. This has already been tested in court.

Given the support Batistelli seems to have in the higher levels of management (these latest approved “reforms” are again a blatant power grab and method to silence critics) I doubt things will improve with a new president. The only way they are ever going to fix this is for the new president to immediately throw out all this bullshit Batistelli put in place and put some proper independent oversight comittees in place. Otherwise they’ll just be swapping “Great Leader” for “Dear Leader”.

More on the immunity:

It would be nice to think so, but the European Institutions have effective and legal immunity from such mundane things as local laws.

In Luxembourg, there are many EU Institutions and many, many eurocrats working in them. I will not go into listing the various advantages these people have (special tax-free supermarkets, no income tax, . . .), but a few years ago there was a review of hiring policy and now EU Institutions in Luxembourg are offering new entry-level positions at less than than the Luxembourg Minimum Wage index.

Nothing can be done against that by the Luxembourg government.

Anon for obvious reasons.

Oddly enough, IPO was then brought up:

I’m not going to defend the European Institutions laws / staff rules – I will remark though that all of these Institutions mandates are created and approved by each of the Member States Governments – its therefore also a national responsibility to correct things if they are not fit for purpose! In the case of ridding the IPO, which is not an EU Institution, of its leader it seems the same is true. With the exception of a few honorable exceptions the responsible administrations are not living up what I would expect their electorates to demand from them.

Also its incorrect to say that EU bureaucrats don’t pay tax – they don’t pay tax in the Member State they work in but they do pay an EU income tax – http://ec.europa.eu/civil_service/job/official/index_en.htm. However, in the case of the IPO which is not an EU entity, it may be that no income tax is paid.

“It’s like FIFA,” said the next comment, where people got “bribed and threatened into compliance with the President’s agenda.”

Remember what Battistelli did. Here is the comment in full:

It’s like FIFA. There are a large number of member states which can be (and were) bribed and threatened into compliance with the President’s agenda. Yes, a few member states may have objected but they are vastly outnumbered by the others. FIFA wrongdoing was eventually exposed because football is interesting to the press. International civil servants are not, and are often caricatured as “privileged”. Yes, they are well paid, but many politicians, academics, consultant physicians, business people, lawyers, etc etc are paid even better (even after tax), can live in their home countries and enjoy the protection of their laws and of human rights treaties to which their country is a signatory. No-one would suggest that at a certain level of pay they have been bought out of the protection of the law, would they? But this is implicit in many comments about the plight of employees of the EPO and other IOs.

In our assessment, the EPO has become not only crooked but also corrupt. Those who dare protest against it have their action spun as some kind of “social democracy” (the right to strike) and are used as ‘proof’ that dissent comes from a “vocal minority” (see the EPO’s misleading statement at the top).

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2017/07/10/epo-strike-shaming/

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