04.21.21

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Behind the Curtains of Cheap and Cheesy PR the EPO is a Machine of Oppression (Against Its Very Own Staff), Tribunal to Rule on Strike Busting

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Union-busting behaviour started a couple of months back with sanctions against the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO)

You lie to it, you rob it. It finds out you break laws, it wants justice.

Summary: The laughable regime of Campinos is a naked emperor with nothing but diplomatic immunity (almost not a single member of staff trusts the President) and the PR strategic front is becoming worse than pathetic; it’s like the place is run by infantile career-climbing sociopaths with no qualifications, trying to weaponise a sea of money against staff, inquisitive media, and states (by bribing them or hiring lawyers to intimidate/bankrupt them); while the EPO still swims in money its reputation drowns too quickly to ever resurface, recover

THE EPO should never have been granted immunity. Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos have both demonstrated that it’s a recipe for “Mafia” (what EPO staff calls the management). It not only leads to illegal European software patents but also unlawful behaviour towards human beings. It’s getting worse all the time, with salaries (of families) crushed, data outsourced, and media threatened/bribed.

“It’s getting worse all the time, with salaries (of families) crushed, data outsourced, and media threatened/bribed.”Just to make a point, earlier today the Office used greenwashing tactics and other meaningless fluff (warning: epo.org link), speaking of “environmental sustainability and diversity & inclusion.” Well, “sustainability” is a notoriously meaningless buzzword. How about ending the crimes and the corruption? No? “Diversity & inclusion” can be name-dropped instead… not that the EPO has any real “diversity & inclusion.”

Seriously, I'm not BattistelliHours apart the EPO’s management used another puff piece/fluff, one might say “pure garbage” (warning: epo.org link), to distract from its behaviour towards everybody, including examiners, applicants, judges and so on.

For the second time in a week the EPO pretends to be some sort of an art gallery instead of a patent office. What on Earth is this?

“Wasn’t Campinos put forth as a fig leaf by the Administrative Council, touted as better than Battistelli even though both fail at dialogue with their own staff and routinely break the law while rigging/stacking tribunals?”For real news one must look deeper than the so-called ‘news’ section of epo.org. Right about now the form about strike deductions being challenged [PDF] is being circulated, citing the employees’ right to go on strike [PDF] as they did back in the middle of December. Campinos is trampling over things that even the Battistelli regime put in place; Campinos seems eager to prove he’s even worse, as some staff nowadays feels or believes. Wasn’t Campinos put forth as a fig leaf by the Administrative Council, touted as better than Battistelli even though both fail at dialogue with their own staff and routinely break the law while rigging/stacking tribunals? Here’s a letter from Campinos:

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

president@epo.org
Date: 24.02.2021

To: the Chairman of SUEPO Central

By email: central@suepo.org

Extension of the application of the coming Tribunal judgements on salary deductions for strike participation

Dear Mr Chair,

Reference is made to your letter of 28 January 2021 in which you requested that the results of the currently pending cases before the Tribunal on the salary deduction for strike participation would be applied to all staff who went on strike since 1 July 2013.

As a preliminary remark, I wish to emphasise that the salary deductions for participation to the strike of 15 December 2020 were applied fully in accordance with the applicable rules (Art. 65 (1) (c) ServRegs jo. point 6 Circ. No. 347 on strikes). This means that, contrary to what is indicated in your letter, the deduction of 1/20th was only applied for strike participation of more than four hours. For fewer hours of strike participation, a salary deduction of 1/40th was applied.

Further, as you mention, the strike regulations – including the salary deductions for participation – have indeed been extensively challenged in the past and ultimately led to complaints before the Tribunal. Given that numerous past cases on this topic have already been dealt with by the Appeals Committee – and that its majority confirmed the lawfulness of the strike deductions, the Office considers it not opportune to make any commitment at this stage and prefers to await the Tribunal’s judgements on the pending cases.

Subsequently, based on a careful and thorough assessment of the judgements and the reasoning invoked by the Tribunal, the Office will decide on the appropriate next steps.

I hope the above clarifies the Office’s position.

Yours sincerely,
António Campinos

Long story short, ‘master negotiator’ Campinos continues to attack the rights of his own staff, burying his own grave and proving to be the EPO’s most disappointing president ever, maybe also the least honest. Suffice to say, the EPO has collected far too much cash, so the issue here isn’t lack of money. Campinos is trying to intimidate staff and prevent future strikes using a ‘reign of terror’ — a familiar tactic (shades of Battistelli). He’s willing to attack staff’s rights.

“Campinos is trying to intimidate staff and prevent future strikes using a ‘reign of terror’ — a familiar tactic (shades of Battistelli). He’s willing to attack staff’s rights.”In the remainder of this week staff will join the efforts of the union to get some sort of justice at ILO (or similar), knowing that the German and Dutch governments allow the EPO to act outside the rule of law. “Challenging excessive strike deductions in 2021,” SUEPO writes, is the next step, and “in order to safeguard their rights, affected staff members must challenge the excessive strike deductions by filing a request for review…”

SUEPO also provided some background as follows:

On 15 December 2020, 1.448 employees representing 22,6% of all staff participated in a strike. It is the highest result of an industrial action since 2016 and a clear signal to the President that there is room for improvement in terms of social peace.

In the January 2021 salary slip, the Office deducted 1/20th of a monthly’s salary for a whole day of strike (instead of 1/30th) or 1/40th for half a day of strike (instead of 1/60th). The excessive strike deductions are already the subject of complaints which are pending in front of the Tribunal.

In an open letter to Mr Campinos on 28 January 2021, SUEPO has requested a confirmation that the outcome of the judgment will apply to all staff who went on strike since the new strike regulations were put in place, namely since 1 July 2013. In his reply of 24 February 2021, Mr Campinos wrote that “the Office considers it not opportune to make any commitment at this stage and prefers to await the Tribunal’s judgements on the pending cases”.

[...]

A decision from the President is then due two months after filing the request for review. In case of a rejection, you will then have three months to file an internal appeal.

Nice to see local SUEPO Committees working hard for justice; it gives some hope in an otherwise hopeless and despotic system.

EPO strike

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