06.29.18

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Three Days Later Still Not a Single Word From the EPO About Union Busting Gone Awry and Court Orders to Reinstate/Promote Staff Representatives

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They won't pay attention to your crime. If you keep insisting you oppose that crime...

Summary: It doesn’t look so likely that the fight against SUEPO is over or that resolutions will be implemented by the Office, even by António Campinos, who starts his job at the Office on Monday (July 2nd)

WE CANNOT say it surprises us that EPO management says nothing about those ILO-AT judgments, which everyone now speaks about… except the EPO. They only speak about ILO when it suits the management.

More importantly, however, where are the assurances to staff that law would be obeyed? Yesterday the EPO wrote about judges and courts, but not about ILO; it was pure hogwash about the very same Boards of Appeal whose independence and judicial potency are under attack by the Office. Timely opportunism? Maybe. Subtle? Yes. Intentional? Who knows…

“Yesterday the EPO wrote about judges and courts, but not about ILO; it was pure hogwash about the very same Boards of Appeal whose independence and judicial potency are under attack by the Office.”The EPO found a new thing with which to distract. It’s just a construction site still, but we’re supposed to think that there’s a meaningful milestone (the real milestone to be found there is Battistelli’s departure, but he attempts to ‘dress it up’ as a tangible achievement like a building). That ceremony at that building wasn’t about its opening. It’ll take a very long time before the building is safe to enter and construction is not even finished yet (like alone furnishing and other critical aspects). The ceremony wasn’t about the EPO or about that building; it was all about Battistelli. The EPO’s tweets too were all about Battistelli, not anybody else in that odd room (which still looked like work in progress, far from being ready for guests). Battistelli was talking about staff in terms and words that can make one throw up. The media now speaks about the building with the term “inaugurates” in the headline. The article is in English and the word “inaugurates” is simply a misfit; the work isn’t even finished yet. It’s a mirage. It’s all about Battistelli trying to attribute the building to himself. There were protests there, but these barely received media coverage. We wrote about the protests twice yesterday [1, 2] and now there are some more details, affirming that SUEPO was behind it (SUEPO also organises a party to celebrate liberation of the Office, i.e. Battistelli’s exit). To quote:

Suepo Munich organised a demonstration today to celebrate the latest decisions of AT-ILO. Ion Brumme, Malika Weaver and Elisabeth Hardon were present.

In Suepo’s words:

“The ILOAT ordered the reinstatement of Ion Brumme ‘to the position he held immediately before his dismissal’ and the restoration of Malika Weaver ‘with retroactive effect to the grade and step she would have held but for the imposition of the disciplinary sanction’, as well as payment of interest on the resulting remuneration arrear, payment of moral damages and payment of costs. Elizabeth Hardon’s case has been remitted by the ILOAT to the EPO ‘to enable a Disciplinary Committee, differently constituted, to consider the matter under Article 102 of the Service Regulations and for the President to make a fresh decision. She is entitled to moral damages and payment of costs.

The decisions of the ILOAT are a slap in the face of Mr. Battistelli and clearly demonstrate his incompetence to manage an international organization.”

It then links to the following comment, raising legitimate worries that António Campinos — working under the ‘invisible hand’ (or thumb) of Battistelli — will perpetuate the union-busting campaign (just as Battistelli perpetuated fear in the Boards of Appeal by denying Judge Corcoran a return to his job, in essence making him a judge no more). We encourage people who want to know what Campinos does at EU-IPO to check out this article from last night. EU-IPO isn’t free of controversies these days (we gave another example from the news yesterday).

The above remark/post points out the following new comment:

With only a few hours before ILO-AT decision concerning SUEPO members, I’d like to voice a prediction.

ILO-AT will just remit the case on a small technicality for the EPO to reconsider.

Why? Simply because that is simply the best option for EPO’s management. It allows them to play cat and mouse for another couple of years, effectively keeping SUEPO busy. It passes the bucket to the next president, with a blank check to do nothing for a few years. It deprives the affected persons of any recourse, because the legal process would still be running.

For Battistelli and his clicque, it is much better than a negative decision. Their objective is to keep the staff at the brink of despair, but without having them understand that they face a brick wall. If they realised that the cannot win at ILO-AT, ever, they would seek other means. Keeping the process running keeps the proverbal carrot hanging in front of their noses

Yes, this is quite probable. Remember that the same management is in place, bar Battistelli (who is still lurking in the shadows). There’s also the Investigative Unit, as “Naked Emperor” noted yesterday:

The recent ILO decisions also show which use the President made of the distasteful activities of his willful helpers in the Investigative Unit.

The EPO spoke about privacy of staff and stakeholders recently (piggybacking GDPR to spread lies) and the next comment is interesting in relation to this:

Despite what appears to have been a victory for another SUEPO staffer in ILO judgement no. 4502, we are all still in the dark regarding the precise nature of the electronic “monitoring” that the EPO has been conducting. This is because the complainant’s request for production of documents explaining how the EPO came about certain information was side-stepped by the ILO.

In case 4502, it is stated that the alleged misconduct of the complainant (who was by then a former EPO employee, and was instead employed by SUEPO) “consisted in the unauthorised publication on the Internet, at least throughout 2014 and under the use of various pseudonyms, of information and opinions about the work of the EPO, including non-public information and defamatory and insulting opinions”. It is also stated that “acting under various pseudonyms and using his blog, other Internet sites and Twitter the complainant had (a) published or caused the publication of information and opinions dealing with the work of the EPO without permission from the President …; (b) disclosed in an unauthorised manner non-public information about and belonging to the EPO … ; (c) published opinions of insulting, defamatory and/or libellous content against various EPO staff members and management, but also against the management of other international and public organisations; …”.

These allegations raise a very important question, namely: if the complainant no longer worked for the EPO (and so, presumably, did not use any computers owned by the EPO to conduct the alleged misconduct), how is it that the EPO was able to identify the complainant as the author of the various pseudonymous posts?

Personally, I find it impossible to believe that the EPO could have come about that information without somehow gaining access to the blog sites and/or the complainant’s computer. But why would either a blog site or the complainant voluntarily allow this? And should someone alert the authorities in Germany of the possible commission of (hacking) offences relating to the manner in which the EPO came into the possession of key data?

Finally, what does this mean for the data security of those posting opinions here that are (at least in my view) justifiably critical of the current EPO management?

Abuses against the rights of workers are set to carry on, so the fight is far from over. Battistelli’s departure is merely the beginning of a potential salvation, but the reputation of the EPO still suffers, the profile of the EPO as an employer changed a lot, and large-scale layoffs are still expected. We recently saw a comment about the EPO giving up on job applicants whose applications were successful. It’s as though there was a sudden hiring freeze. Who gave these instructions and why were applicants required to prepare for interviews etc. for jobs that don’t exist? We saw that same thing in UPC; people were shown job openings and invited to job interviews… for jobs that never existed and probably will never exist.

“We saw that same thing in UPC; people were shown job openings and invited to job interviews… for jobs that never existed and probably will never exist.”It is worth remembering that the fate of at least one staff representative from the Netherlands is still unknown. It may take until next year (if not longer) for ILO-AT to get through to his case and by that stage his workplace (below, with credit to SUEPO’s Web site) might already be demolished, just like Corcoran’s colleagues had been moved to Haar, where he no longer had a desk, computer etc. What a cruel workplace this is.

Battistelli’s departure (today is his last day) will allow us to publish some previously-suppressed things.

SUEPO in the Netherlands

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