12.03.20

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‘Social Dialogue’ at the EPO Broke Down, Team Campinos is Totally Delusional

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mirror mirror on the wall…

Mirror

Summary: Team Campinos is speaking to itself, reaffirming its own decisions, but it’s trying to give the impression of consultation with staff; unfortunately for them, staff isn’t gullible enough and there’s good understanding of the false pretenses

The staff union of the EPO was crushed by Benoît Battistelli, but at least two of the people Battistelli aggressively ousted are now back in the union (SUEPO) and António Campinos shows that Battistelli’s agenda remains in tact. Is there peace? ‘Social dialogue’ as Campinos likes to call it?

“As we noted last month, nobody was ever punished for what had been done to Laurent Prunier.”Well, no.

To establish real peace and not a piece of PR more than smiles would be needed. It’s reported that Campinos has temper tantrums, which show how detached he is from reality. Better shouting than screaming, right? Well, at least he was sober. Or so it seemed (remote working enables all sorts of things).

SUEPO Central ‘met’ Campinos a fortnight ago (a webchat) and then called it “Regress instead of progress” in a new publication, summarised as follows:

Mr Campinos showed again no interest in union rights and proposed a Memorandum of Understanding far below all expectations in International Organisations. Mr Campinos also vainly tried to minimise the flaws of his new salary adjustment procedure. The overall feeling of the participants is that Mr Campinos is only interested in ticking the checkbox that he met with SUEPO before the next meeting of the Administrative Council and to increase the KPI of his number of “social dialogue” meetings.

Here is the full publication (dated Tuesday):

01 December 2020
su20037cp – 0.2.1

Report on the SUEPO meeting with the President on 18 November 2020

Mr Campinos showed again no interest in union rights and proposed a Memorandum of Understanding far below all expectations in International Organisations. Mr Campinos also vainly tried to minimise the flaws of his new salary adjustment procedure. The overall feeling of the participants is that Mr Campinos is only interested in ticking the checkbox that he met with SUEPO before the next meeting of the Administrative Council and to increase the KPI of his number of “social dialogue” meetings.

Salary adjustment procedure – Broken promises

On litigation
SUEPO has organized the filing of appeals by a group of test-appellants against the general decision CA/D 4/20 putting in place the EPO’s new salary adjustment procedure with a capping mechanism at Eurozone inflation + 0.2%. Mr Germond from Employment Law confirmed during the meeting that President would apply of the outcome of appeals to all staff as written in the reply letter1 of 22-09-2020. However, later in the meeting Mr Campinos emphasised that appeals are purely individual and it remained unclear whether he would apply the outcome of individual appeals on the salary adjustment procedure to all staff. This attitude confirms once again the lack of consistency and reliability of Mr Campinos. The appeals against the first implementing decision of the application of the salary adjustment procedure for the year 2020 will need to be filed early 2021. The statements of Mr Campinos confirm that SUEPO should always adopt a careful approach to secure the rights of all staff.

On the first results
Earlier this year, SUEPO had warned Mr Campinos that the new procedure would result in a loss of purchasing power for all staff and pensioners. Nevertheless, Mr Campinos ignored our arguments and pushed his reform after being ill-advised by his close advisors and consultants2. By refusing to involve in the reform experts in salary adjustment procedures of International Organizations, Mr Campinos has now provoked an industrial accident which materializes immediately. Indeed, the results for 2020 are such that instead of adjustment of about 3.8% in July 2020, EPO staff and pensioners get 0.5% in January 2021 (in NL and DE) and 0.36% instead of 2.7% (in AT). This is equivalent to a pay cut of about one step. The savings are well beyond all expectations (see slides3 of the General Assembly in Munich) and the EPO scores again far below all standards in International Organizations (the adjustment will be +4.2% in the Coordinates Organisations).

_______
1 “Legal action against the new Salary Adjustment Procedure” (re20034cl) by Mr Campinos (22-09-2020)
2 Directorate Compensation & Benefits under PD4.3 and Mercer
3 “The EPO salary adjustment procedure: Why it is not fit for purpose and how to fix it” (sc20021mp) by LSC Munich (19-11-2020)


In the meeting, we demonstrated that the results show that all the promises made in his Communiqué of 09-04-2020 are now broken: a reform “with the lowest intensity” and that there was “no desire to cut staff purchasing power or impose unnecessary savings”. This will deepen further the lack of trust in EPO management and destroy the engagement of staff in his Strategic Plan SP2023. Even worse, staff will now have to pay again for the mistakes of his services.

Mr Campinos replied: “Maybe we did something wrong, but at least we generate savings.” This statement already contradicted what Mr Campinos said in the meeting with the Central Staff Committee (CSC) a few hours before: “It is producing the results we wanted.”

We insisted that there are ways to repair the EPO salary adjustment procedure and referred to the CSC letter4 of 17-11-2020. This must be done as early as possible to avoid another disaster next year.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – Regress instead of progress

SUEPO filed in 2014 a draft proposal5 for a Memorandum of Understanding. At the time, Mr Battistelli refused to even consider it as the starting point of a negotiation. Instead, Mr Battistelli tabled a counter-proposal6 which actually binds unions to respect all circulars that the President can change at will and in particular the illegal strike regulations currently in place. In our view, the text is actually endangering unions rather than recognising unions.

After the beginning of his mandate, Mr Campinos tried to revive the topic and promised in a meeting in October 2019 that he would table “within 3-4 weeks a new proposal based on the text applicable at the European Commission”. This statement gave hopes that dialogue with SUEPO would be given a fresh start. Unfortunately, Mr Campinos never sent the promised text. In the latest meetings, Mr Campinos said that the only text on the table was the one of Mr Battistelli and declared: “I have the duty to listen to you. Not to negotiate with you.” Mr Campinos goes one step backwards and this change of attitude shows regress rather than progress.

Appeals Committee opinions – Bad faith and self-contraction

The Appeals Committee provides the President of the Office with legal recommendations which are either unanimous or made by majority. We recalled that for our internal justice system to make sense and to reduce litigation, the President of the Office should follow all unanimous recommendations.

On SUEPO facilities
Mr Campinos stated that he follows 95% of the unanimous recommendations. Interestingly, among the 5% remaining features a unanimous recommendation in favour of SUEPO concerning its facilities and access to Office premises. In the meeting, Mr Campinos argued that if he were to follow the recommendation the consequences would be too far reaching also for other appeals but did not bring any further details. Mr Campinos only expressed his willingness to “settle” the case, namely to give SUEPO less than what the appeals committee recommends

_______
4 “Proposals for repairing the EPO new salary “adjustment” procedure” (sc20172cl) by the CSC (17-11-2020)
5 “Draft Proposal for a “Framework Agreement” (su14020cl) by SUEPO Central & “WG on recognition of trade
unions”
(su15182cl) by SUEPO Central (29-05-2015)
6 “What is wrong with the EPO Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)?” (su16063cp) by SUEPO Central (31-03-
2016)


and concluded: “In any case, if SUEPO wants back access to mass-emails, it would be only in the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding. SUEPO will lose in Geneva anyway.” Bad faith won’t help to convince us to sign an already flawed text.

On excessive strike deductions
The discussion moved on to the topic of excessive strike deductions over weekends. Mr Campinos followed the recommendation but in a letter so far refused to generalise the outcome to all staff on the basis that only a small minority of staff was concerned (sic!). When attempting to defend his position, Mr Campinos replied that there should be no incentive to strike on Fridays and Mondays and that it was therefore good to deduct over weekends. Mr Campinos actually contradicted his own decision which was actually not to have deduction over weekends. This constitutes yet another example of regress rather than progress.

Disciplinary cases

In the meeting, we maintained our long standing claim for a solution concerning the two disciplinary cases of Appeals Committee nominees Aurélien Pétiaud and Michael Lund. Mr Campinos stated again that he refuses to re-open these cases on the basis that they are res judicata: “It is a matter of principle. I am a man of principle.”

We note that with the planned reform of the Education Allowance, Mr Campinos is actually re- opening the SUEPO supported cases lost by nationals on the topic (Judgment 2870). This shows that when there is a will, there is a way for Mr Campinos to re-open cases which have the force of res judicata.

Mr Campinos can now trumpet in front of the Administrative Council that he met with SUEPO. The quality of the meeting was however far below all expectations.

SUEPO Central

We intend to publish some more documents related to the crushing of staff and defunding based on a lie. Later this month we can hopefully be done with that.

“It is a matter of principle. I am a man of principle,” Campinos is quoted is saying. What principles? The ones that motivate Donald Trump to sack everyone who says truths which embarrass him? Those are the “principles” of “revenge”…

Since the above letter mentions Aurélien Pétiaud and Michael Lund, let’s recall an old Laurent Prunier letter [PDF], sent about a year before the settlement.

“SUEPO is concerned that the Office does not appear to have contacted Laurent Prunier to reach an amicable settlement,” said the SUEPO Web site under “Letter to the President about the situation of Laurent Prunier” (emphasis below is ours).

Laurent Prunier letter

As we noted last month, nobody was ever punished for what had been done to Laurent Prunier. In fact, one of the bullies still works with Campinos. Not a manager but an unqualified bully, assured to ruin the very department entrusted to handle (crushing humans, draining resources).

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