12.12.20

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Two Years Ago SUEPO Discussed Rules of Strike With António Campinos and 3 Days From Now EPO Staff in All Sites Goes on Strike

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Union-busting and anti-strike provisions did not work for long, did they? You can’t sweep legitimate grievances under a rug, not even during a pandemic.

A photo of Ion Brumme

Summary: On December twelfth 2018 (exactly 2 years ago) the staff union of the EPO published a letter which said they had “discussed the rules for strike (Articles 30a and 65(1)c) ServRegs and Circular No. 347), which triggered many litigation cases currently pending. The President confirmed his readiness for looking at them together with us with the intention of settling pending litigation cases and finding a modus vivendi reflecting a staff union’s prerogative for organising a strike.”

LAST YEAR in the middle of May (before talks broke down due to António Campinos failing to engage in a genuine dialogue, much like Benoît Battistelli had failed), the staff union of the EPO (SUEPO) sent out this “[o]pen letter from SUEPO Central to Mr Campinos on discussion of a Memorandum of Understanding,” stating that Campinos “invited SUEPO to discuss on 16 May a new framework for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the EPO and our Union. Our response, which we sent already to the delegations of the Administrative Council, is available…”

“Notice the tone used back then compared to today’s.”It’s quite typical for Campinos to stage “meetings” with people just to tick a box and then claim to the Administrative Council that he was doing something social, piggybacking his father’s social(ist) creds. But as SUEPO made very clear in this letter: [PDF]

MoU EPO open letter page 1

MoU EPO open letter page 2

MoU EPO open letter page 3

The latter letter was published exactly 2 years ago. Notice the tone used back then compared to today’s. It’s amazing a strike was prevented for this long; in fact, one was planned and scheduled just before the pandemic interrupted things. To quote from the strike’s statement: “Management seems to believe that Staff of the EPO is in a state of paralysis and will not react, no matter how hard they will be hit, as if the pandemic would have anesthetised our senses. Only that can explain the current attacks after years of loyal and competent work. Indeed, year after year, Council meeting after Council meeting, managers and Heads of Delegations keep praising the results of our work, the great working atmosphere, the huge production with ever reducing working staff. Only to come some days later with new and inventive attacks on our working conditions. Changes are always imposed, making a mockery of the consultation with Staff Representatives. For the president this is only a power game where he has all the cards. We are tired of being always the losers of this game. We don’t want to play your game Mr Campinos: Enough is enough.”

“We will likely write a lot more about the EPO next year.”SUEPO linked to this some days ago and new comments say “abandon the EPC! Viva national law!” and “The cash injection system in the SSP and this Salary Adjustment Prreform [sic] change the working atmosphere at the EPO from a golden cage to a menagement [sic] heaven based on employees hell.” (by “Worried employee”)

For a long time Team Battistelli worked hard to make it harder and harder to arrange a strike; don’t miss Tuesday’s opportunity to take a day off without being bullied by line managers. This is just the start. “SUEPO has announced the strike will be the start of a year of social conflict to defend the future of the Staff and their families,” says the article cited by SUEPO. We will likely write a lot more about the EPO next year.

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