07.17.21

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EPO Collapsing Under Managerial Corruption and Neglect of Staff

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

My daughter
The EPO doesn’t care about staff’s kids or even the staff

Summary: Another new glimpse into ‘office politics’ inside the EPO; basically it seems like the Office is in ‘auto-pilot’ steering towards nowhere while treating staff as mere ‘resources’ (to be exploited and thrown aside); expandable staff might be ‘normal’ or applicable to a candy store, but without the necessary talent and with increasingly unlawful regulations it’s just a ‘patent mill’ that will repel applicants and destroy the European economy (plenty of frivolous litigation)

JUST over ten days ago the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO ‘met’ António Campinos and his mates (online). They were hoping to discuss matters like staff — yes, that thing that sort of runs the Office. “A race against the clock” is what they called it. And why? Because since the Benoît Battistelli era it has always felt like the Office was going nowhere; it was losing lots of important staff, quality of granted patents fell sharply, and recently we saw that even the number of patent applications is decreasing. Are stakeholders realising that lots of bogus patents (such as European software patents) are being granted without standing a chance in courts? What’s the point paying to receive and renew fake patents? Keeping some words on paper inside a picture frame?

“What’s the point paying to receive and renew fake patents?”“To our surprise,” the CSC wrote a few days ago, “none of the documents on the GCC agenda has been discussed previously with the Staff Representation in any working group or statutory body, yet they were nonetheless tabled directly for consultation, i.e. for a final vote.”

Were they really surprised? That’s just typical incompetence if not corruption at the higher tier of EPO management.

The documents in question will be listed below, in turn (and in full). They are:

  1. Circular No. XXX on Young Child and Education Allowances (GCC/DOC 6/2021)
  2. Circular No. 301 (Rev.3) on Guidelines on Office crèches (GCC/DOC 7/2021)
  3. Circular No. 22 (Rev.) on Guidelines for leave (GCC/DOC 8/2021)
  4. Note to the GCC repelling the practice on application of Article 70 ServRegs to children over 26 years of age (GCC/DOC 9/2021)

All that stuff about rights of staff doesn’t matter to Campinos. And children? Oh, come on. Campinos only raised a spoiled brat who thinks that like his father he can commit crimes and then get away with it (by invoking diplomatic immunity).

The CSC continued: “Mr Campinos apparently had underestimated the necessary time for proper consultation and had designated only a limited time for each of the documents. The first document on the Young Child and Education Allowances used up already about two thirds of the 90 minutes meeting only for a first explanation by the administration to some of the questions and comments by the Staff Representation, many of which remained unanswered and some were not even allowed to be asked. Meeting with his own tight time schedule seems to be his only goal.”

They keep doing that time-wasting. It’s a strategy. They intentionally leave no time for discussion of topics that don’t suit their agenda (but they’re still obliged to deal with).

The CSC concluded: “This GCC meeting was once again a confirmation that also in consultation procedures timeliness is misinterpreted to be as fast as one can be, no matter the result, and it is seen by the administration as the only important value, which automatically leads to an increased productivity, translated into a number of new Circulars which lack clarity and will thereby lead to massive litigation.”

The EPO’s administration is all about litigation; it’s not supposed to be like that, but when special interests capture a patent office they corrupt and destory it (to the detriment of still-caring staff).

Below we’re reproducing the full publication disseminated among staff (a copy was leaked to us).

Munich, 15/07/2021
sc21096cp – 0.2.1

Report on the GCC meeting of 6 July 2021
The GCC consultation – A race against the clock

Dear colleagues,

The last GCC meeting before the summer break had a packed agenda with four documents and only 1,5 hours to discuss them.

Prologue
To our surprise, none of the documents on the GCC agenda had been discussed previously with the Staff Representation in any working group or statutory body, yet they were nonetheless tabled directly for consultation, i.e. for a final vote.
A further surprising element was that these documents, tabled for a first discussion on 6 July, were all related to the Education Allowance reform (CA/7/21 Add. 1) that was implemented of as of 1 July 2021 (CA/D 4/21), i.e. five days earlier. And these four GCC documents were presented during the meeting as additional clarifications for the reform, which had already entered into force.

Warm-up
We expressed our opinion that the circulars should have been discussed together with the reform and definitely before its entry into force. In view of the apparent draft status of the circulars and the numerous questions and unclarities, we requested that the circulars be presented to the GCC for information in order to allow a proper consultation procedure, i.e. seeking acceptable solutions to issues the administration may have discovered through a genuine exchange of views and information, such that the views of staff are also taken into account before an informed and qualitative decision is taken by all GCC members.

The President in his role of Chair of the GCC didn’t follow the request by the Staff Representation and maintained the documents as initially presented in the agenda for consultation.

Time trial
Since the documents have not been subject to any prior consultation, questions for information andcclarification on the GCC documents by the Staff Representation were extensive in order to improvecthe draft circulars and clarify the intended implementation of the reform.
We were aware of the very limited timeline which was set by the Administration and came wellcprepared. The President apparently had underestimated the necessary time for proper consultation


and had designated only a limited time for each of the documents. The first document on the Young Child and Education Allowance used up already about two thirds of the 90 minutes meeting only for a first explanation by the administration to some of the questions and comments by the Staff Representation, many of which remained unanswered and some were not even allowed to be asked. This first tenacious exchange on this GCC document could have given a hint to the President that a proper consultation on the substance of all documents was urgently necessary. However, notwithstanding the visibly poor consultation, the president set the pace without allowing any deviation.

The same procedure – pushing through the documents without allowing many of the questions and avoiding clear and clarifying answers – was also applied to the three other GCC documents in order to finish the GCC on time. Meeting with his own tight time schedule seems to be his only goal in such a meeting. We wonder if the GCC members of the administration also had questions and remarks regarding the documents, but didn’t dare to antagonise the ticking presidential timer.

Epilogue
This GCC meeting was once again a confirmation that also in consultation procedures timeliness is misinterpreted to be as fast as one can be, no matter the result, and it is seen by the administration as the only important value, which automatically leads to an increased productivity, translated into a number of new Circulars which lack clarity and will thereby lead to massive litigation.

Your Central Staff Committee

Annexes:

Opinions of the CSC members of the GCC,

1. On GCC/DOC 6/2021 – Circular No. XXX on Young child and education allowances, No opinion within the meaning of Article 38(3) ServRegs
2. On GCC/DOC 7/2021 – Circular No. 301 (Rev.3) on Guidelines on Office crèches, No opinion within the meaning of Article 38(3) ServRegs
3. On GCC/DOC 8/2021 – Circular No. 22 (Rev.) on Guidelines for leave, the CSC members of the GCC give a negative opinion
4. On GCC/DOC 9/2021 – Note to the GCC repelling the practice on application of Article 70 ServRegs to children over 26 years of age, No opinion within the meaning of Article 38(3) ServRegs

Here is the first of the annexes:

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC
on GCC/DOC 6/2021:
Circular on young child and education allowances reform

The CSC members of the GCC give the following opinion on the Circular on Young child and education allowance proposed in the document GCC/DOC 6/2021.

PROCEDURE

The document is presented to the GCC for consultation. It has been made available for the first time to the staff representation on 21 June 2021 with the agenda of the GCC meeting.

The circular is meant to provide the guidelines for application of the new Service Regulations (ServRegs) on young child and education allowances, approved by the Administrative Council in its 167th meeting. The new ServRegs contain numerous points providing ample room for interpretation in such a way that the content of the circular becomes of outmost relevance and has a big impact on the future conditions of the staff (and their children) affected by the concerned articles.

Given the relevance of the points addressed – and those missing – in the document and its effect on staff when applying the new reform on education allowance, the CSC members of the GCC are of the opinion that the document should have been discussed with the Staff representatives in the context of the working group on education allowance.

Therefore, as requested in the GCC meeting, this document should have been presented to the GCC for information only and it should have been further discussed with the staff representatives in the working group on education and childcare allowances reform.

Distributing the GCC agenda and documents on time according to the Rules of Procedure is not sufficient for a consultation to be unflawed. This step actually fulfils only one criterion: timeliness. However, timeliness is no guarantee for quality of the consultation process. It is neither sufficient for a consultation to be bona fide nor for social dialogue to succeed. In particular, due to the duration of the GCC meeting limited to 1,5 hours, staff representatives were not allowed to put all their points on the table.

The CSC members of the GCC regret the President’s statement that we should simply continue with our questions during the meeting because he would already know what we are aiming at. However, the object of consultation would be frustrated if the decision-maker began with a determination not to be influenced by anything that might be said to him1.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

As explained below, many crucial points in the circular introduce ambiguity and legal uncertainty. Some even contradict the text in the ServRegs. As a consequence, it paves the way towards future litigation. The staff representation therefore recommends amending the text to address its deficiencies and thereby reduce litigation.

____
1 See e.g. Judgment No. 4230 consideration 13


CONTENT

Article 1
Entitlement to doubled young child allowance

Article 1 fails to provide clear guidelines for implementation, in particular:

In paragraph (1)(ii):

- The definition of “regular attendance” and “weekly attendance” is not clear. Is it whole week attendance? Does it include partial attendance every week? Is a fixed schedule necessary to ensure “regularity”? What about flexible patterns? The Administration answered that “a certain regularity” was meant but this is not clear from the circular and would be open to interpretation.

- It is unclear on which legal basis children with a non-weekly scheme could be excluded from the young child allowance (e.g. monthly or flexible scheme). According to the Administration further explained that essentially, there should be a contract with the facility which stipulates that the child attends weekly and that Article 9 defines in more detail what the contract should contain. This contract-related criterion and the link between Article 1 and 9 is not defined. Further, this criterion nonetheless leaves staff at a loss to determine in advance what the decision of the administration could be on any specific case as to the content of the contract.

In paragraph (2):

- Also the definition of- “average costs…over the year” is subjected to the interpretation of the HR officer in charge: Is it a calendar year, an academic year? How many months in the latter case?
Regarding the boundaries of a year, the Administration explained that for The Hague a calendar year would be considered, for Munich it would be the academic year. But, no information was provided for Berlin or Vienna.
This flexible interpretation of the boundaries of a year does not help in determining how the average within the boundaries is calculated.
According to the Administration, the contract with the facilities would be the basis for reimbursement to determine whether reimbursement would also take place for months in which the child would not attend the child care facility. The text as it stands remains silent to that extent.
- About the “average”: would months during which the child do not attend at all be considered for calculating the average?

Article 2
Entitlement to reimbursement of direct education costs

In paragraph (1)(i):
- The term “regular attendance on a fulltime basis” needs to be clarified in order to avoid arbitrary decisions.
- The term “preschool” as the basis for the entitlement is ambiguous as it designates different school levels or facilities in different countries. In some


countries, only the last year of Kindergarten is considered to be the “preschool- year”. The administration replied that means school as of the age of 4. In the absence of an indication to it in the circular there is no certainty on the scope of said term.

- “20 hours” is based on a four hours-per-day basis, according to the administration. However, no statement was given whether there would be an impact for children attending the ESM or ESH for less than 20 hours per week. There is reason to fear that this article may introduce unequal treatment among the places of employment and among colleagues with children in different schools.

Inparagraphs (1) )(iii), (2)(i) – (iii) and (3) – (5):

- According to art. 71.III(7) and (8) ServRegs as approved by the 167th AC, the employees entitled to the education allowance will receive (i) 70% of the payment of the direct education costs within the established ceiling and (ii) a monthly lumpsum according to annex IV. Article 2 of the present circular could prevent the reimbursement of direct costs to children who are entitled to education allowance according to Article 71 and who wilI therefore receive the corresponding lumpsum. Consequently, staff may fall in a legal trap. Students entitled to receive the education allowance according to Article 71.I could be deprived by the present circular from the part of said allowance set forth in Art 71.III (7).
- Paragraphs (1)(iii), (2)(i) – (iii) , (3) and (5) further introduce a number of substantive restrictions that are contrary to the common practice that has been followed up to now. The practice that the Office has been applying in the last decades concerning the post-secondary education allowance was coherent with the statements in Article 69, i.e. children following post-secondary educational or vocational training. Article 69 was amended by decision of the AC in 2009 (CA/D 28/09) to solve the contradiction that children receiving education allowance were not regarded as dependent regarding other articles of the ServRegs (e.g. for insurance purposes).
- The restrictions that would be imposed by Art 2 par (1)(iii) and (2) result in that reimbursement of direct costs for post-secondary studies may be restricted in practice to university studies that can be measured by credits in the ETCS. Consequently, these restrictions are discriminatory as they discriminate (i) children choosing for different educational path as e.g. educational level lower than university or any other vocational training, (ii) children who for any reason (e.g. health) cannot attend a full academic year, etc…
The wording “an equivalent to an average of 60 ECTS” is very vague. The administration explained that the 60 ECTS do not need to be obtained in practice to obtain a reimbursement and represent a measure for a more flexible time attendance in line with the Bologna process. Nonetheless, there is no legal certainty that students failing their exams will be reimbursed. E.g. in some studies, failing after a full year attendance may prevent the students to repeat that year, thereby forcing them to abandon after the first quarter and follow alternative paths in the remaining months.
- The scope of the ”equivalence” remains however totally unclear. For instance, post-secondary studies outside of Europe may operate in ways irreconcilable with equating with ETCS.


- Article 2 is silent on numerous events that affect the flow of the studies. Studies may be split in different studies in different semesters or may be interrupted for e.g. health reasons, or may be prolongated.
- It is unclear what limitation the wording “recognised by local public authorities” is imposing. Would a private institution delivering certificates recognised by a professional sector fall under the scope of recognition by local authorities.
- “Proof of full-time attendance”: some schools normally do not provide such proofs. Would the proof of enrolment be sufficient? This is also problematic in the event of “remote” attendance, e.g. in times of a pandemic.

In paragraph (3):

- “Compulsory”: the present practice provides support to students following an internship, traineeship, or apprenticeship forming part of their curriculum. This kind of practice is normally not compulsory. By restricting the support to those that are compulsory by the educational establishment, the allowance (reimbursement of direct costs?) for said formation may be de facto abolished.

In paragraph (5):
- Considering the scope of the Article as explained above, this paragraph seems to imply that the amount reimbursed is to be reduced by deducing the time gap between the end of the study and the obtention of the diploma.
- Interrupting an allowance or a part of it before a diploma is issued leaves the colleagues in a limbo period where they have a student depending on them, not recognised as student by the Office neither recognised by the society as a formed graduate or professional capable of exercising his profession.

Article 3
Reimbursable expenses

- Par (1) (i) does not provide a clear definition as to what the “tuition fees certified as being necessary for attendance” are. It could be understood that if the school certifies that a child needs special support (e. g. language support, support for children with minor special needs as dyslexia, dyscalculia, etc..), the extra costs concerned will be included into this concept. I. e. a formulation such as “special need lessons necessary for tuition not covered by Art 69 are included”. Such an unclear definition leaves staff subject to the interpretation of the HR officer in charge.

- Capital fees were defined in the working group meeting as material fees charged by the educational establishment for education purposes. The present definition does not correspond to what the working group agreed to.

- A precise distinction between direct and indirect costs is still missing.

Article 4
Application of ceilings

This article raises the following unanswered questions:


- What does the “typical cycle structure of the country” mean ?Will pensioners resident in Vienna or Berlin receive the ceiling of other place of employment?

Article 6
Entitlement to the lumpsum for indirect costs

This article raises the following unanswered questions:

- What are the conditions for providing the lumpsum to children in the secondary school that are older than 18?
- Will children younger than 18 who are on post-secondary education receive the lumpsum of secondary education or that of post-secondary education?

Article 9
Supporting documentation and checks

Requesting the proof of payment poses a huge economic burden in the colleagues. Not only they have to afford suddenly huge unexpected expenses but they have to provide in advance the Office’s contribution. This will mean for many colleagues the impossibility to afford a certain school even if it would later be reimbursed, or to acquire a mortgage to pay in advance the Office’s contribution.

Here the following questions arise:

- Why 4 weeks to provide the requested documents? (e.g. what happens during a longer holiday period as e.g. school holidays?)
- By contrast, what is the deadline for the office to reimburse the payments?

Annex: list of recognised childcare facilities

The explanatory text provided in the intranet site of HR has been adopted here. It is clear however that even if it was the general practice many other particular cases could be allowed under the YCA with the prior regulation for creches. Converting a non-binding text into a binding legal text requires a proper justification.

The presently recognised childcare facilities are set forth in Circular 301. The present text poses restrictions to the present circular that are not justified.

The document foresees in Article 1(1)(i) that entitlement to doubled young child allowance depends inter alia on “attendance of a facility that is located in an EPO host state and that meets the conditions indicated in the Annex to the present circular”. The Annex refers for Germany to a “Kinderbetreuungsgesetz der Bundesländer”, “Infektionsschutzgesetz“ and „Datenschutzgesetz“. The administration was unable to clarify to which legal texts these terms referred. While it could be assumed that “Datenschutzgesetz” should be read as


“Datenschutz-Grundverordnung” and “Infektionsschutzgesetz” refers to “Gesetz zur Verhütung und Bekämpfung von Infektionskrankheiten beim Menschen“, the reference “Kinderbetreuungsgesetz der Bundesländer“ simply does not exist. Also upon a second request, the administration could not explain what was meant. It was therefore impossible for the CSC members of the GCC to assess the impact of this regulation, in particular which childcare facilities were covered by the Circular under consultation and which were not.

Further remarks:

Missing points:

In addition, the following issues should have been addressed and clarified in the present circular:

- It is not clear from the text on Art 71 I (5) that the 500€ threshold applies only to schools below 500€ and it is not 500€ deductible from the reimbursement amount.
- Contrary to what was stated in the working group meetings, the combination of Art. 20 par 1 (“conditioned to school fee higher than ceiling”) in combination with that of Article 20 par 3 (“employees covered under paragraph 1”) leaves many children (essentially those attending any IS in TH except ASH and BSN) that have been until now under Art. 120a, with no reimbursement of the indirect costs during the school year 2021/2022.
- Staff in fixed term contract will be regarded as still into TM when/if contract is renewed? what about a change of contract from fixed term to permanent?
- Staff currently abroad due to the exceptional situation granted by the President under the pandemic will they be covered still by Transitional measures?
- Will there be transitional measures for colleagues in country with high DCA. i.e. primary and secondary school costs above ceiling. (Presently only transitional measures for boarding schools, are considered but normal schools aren’t mentioned.)
- Art 17. Par 2 (general provisions – opting in): a colleagues in the new scheme under YCA will be automatically excluded from transitional measures for schools. As all staff will children 0-3 y. will automatically receive the YCA, should they opt out to be entitled to transitional measures for education allowance?

Important note:

The present circular will enter into force during July 2021. It adds constraints that staff has not been aware of before making their decision for the school year 2021-2022. In many cases, the deadline to take a decision was 30th June 2021.

The present regulation has therefore not allowed colleagues to make a properly founded decision.


Conclusion

There has not been a proper consultation, neither in the dedicated working group nor during the GCC meeting.

The present document should have been presented for information to the GCC and be submitted later for consultation, after discussion and amendment in the dedicated working group.

The present circular includes unnecessary restrictions that are highly detrimental to staff. It’s incomplete in that it does not address the most important issues and leaves ambiguities on several others.

It contains contradictions that introduce legal uncertainty.

Opinion

Based on the above, the incomplete material provided in the document and the insufficient answers provided by the administration leave the CSC members of the GCC in a situation that information material to the matter in issue and on which there should be consultation is missing. Proper consultation is thus frustrated by its absence2. Therefore, the CSC members of the GCC, taking due notice of Article 38(3) ServRegs, are unable to express their opinion. They explicitly refrain from expressing their opinion by voting for or against the document, and they also refrain from abstaining.

The CSC members of the GCC

____
2 See also Judgment No. 3408

The three remaining annexes are a lot shorter. The first is about childcare:

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC
on GCC/DOC 7/2021:
Circular No. 301 (Rev 3)

The CSC members of the GCC give the following opinion on the revised circular No 301 proposed in the document GCC/DOC 7/2021.

The amendments to the present circular 301 consist in the deletion of the recognised childcare facilities.

The reason behind this appears to be that a new list has been incorporated as an annex into the new circular on Young child and education allowance that has been proposed in the document GCC/DOC 6/2021.

The new list introduces restrictions as compared with former Circular No.301, which are not justified (see the reasoning in the opinion on the annex of GCC/DOC 6/2021). The opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on the present document therefore corresponds to the opinion given for GCC/DOC 6/2021:

The incomplete material provided in the document and the insufficient answers provided by the administration leave the CSC members of the GCC in a situation that information material to the matter in issue and on which there should be consultation is missing. Proper consultation is thus frustrated by its absence1. Therefore, the CSC members of the GCC, taking due notice of Article 38(3) ServRegs, are unable to express their opinion. They explicitly refrain from expressing their opinion by voting for or against the document, and they also refrain from abstaining.

The CSC members of the GCC

____
1 See also Judgment No. 3408

The next one (to quote a small portion: “If the services of Mr Campinos are able to read the transcript of an oral introduction in the GCC meeting, it would thus have been possible to insert this text into the document to make the GCC preparation easier”) can be found below.

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 8/2021: Revision of Circular 22

The CSC members of the GCC give the following opinion on the Revision of Circular 22 proposed in GCC/DOC 8/2021.

ON THE CONSULTATION
Like all other documents on the agenda of the General Consultative Committee (GCC) meeting of 6 July 2021, document GCC/DOC 8/2021 was never presented in advance and discussed with the staff representation in any of the statutory bodies and working groups before the GCC meeting.

Mr Campinos considers that distributing the GCC agenda and documents on time according to the Rules of Procedure (RoP) is sufficient for a consultation to be unflawed. This step actually fulfils only one criterion: timeliness. However, timeliness is no guarantee for quality of the consultation process. It is neither sufficient for a consultation to be bona fide nor for social dialogue to succeed.

The document contains no introductory note giving explanations. When preparing the meeting, the CSC members of the GCC had no clue why the document was on the agenda and what they were asked to vote on. Should they vote on the amendments made to the document? Or on the overall content? If the services of Mr Campinos are able to read the transcript of an oral introduction in the GCC meeting, it would thus have been possible to insert this text into the document to make the GCC preparation easier.

ON THE SUBSTANCE

Minor changes stemming from major reforms

Management presented the document as relating solely to editorial and polishing changes. However, all these changes refer to controversial reforms made by the Office:

The CSC members of the GCC note in particular that:

1. The term permanent employee is changed to employee only in line with the generalisation of fixed-term contracts in the Office (CA/D 2/18). We still consider that fixed-term contracts are damaging for the sustainability of the EPO and for the collaboration among the workforce. Instead of solving the problem, Mr Campinos has now tabled a draft Circular 4051 which will not bring any improvement.

2. The categories of staff A, B and C are changed into respectively job groups 1 to 4, 5 and 6 in line with the introduction of the New Career System (CA/D 10/14). The New Career System has now proven to be negative for the atmosphere and the quality of the work at the EPO. It is still highly contested by staff who filed
____
1 “On fixed-term contracts: New draft Circular 405 provides neither further clarity nor more work stability”, CSC paper of 25-06-2021 (sc21083mp)


hundreds of complaints in front of ILOAT2 and 30% of staff still remain excluded from a pensionable reward even during the pandemic3.

3. The introduction of the term Young Child Allowance is in line with the implementation of the Education Allowance reform (CA/D 4/21). The reform breaches the legitimate expectations of staff (e.g. by abolishing the reimbursement of after-school childcare and reimbursement of school fees according to Article 120a ServRegs). It is also damaging for the future by introducing different treatment among sites4 and reducing the attractiveness of the Office.

4. The term Personnel Department is replaced by Human Resources Department. Making this department “impersonnel” and talking about staff just as resources instead of people can be perceived as contradicting the word human.

No special leave during the pandemic

Circular 22 defines the guidelines for leave and relates to family issues (e.g. unpaid leave and parental leave). Upon seeing that a revision was on the agenda, we hoped that the Office had finally taken into account the CSC letter of 11-02-20215 requesting special leave for a shared effort. Unfortunately, the revised text contains no amendment in this direction.

Back in the beginning of 2021, the CSC informed Mr Campinos that colleagues who have childcaring responsibilities were increasingly exhausted as they have to juggle work and taking care of their offspring during lockdowns, quarantines, and when schools and day-care centres will not accept them due to mild symptoms. Parental leave alone is not a viable solution because it is a form of unpaid leave and as such affects the families’ income. Under the principle that “a problem shared is a problem halved” we proposed that the EPO should contribute half by granting special leave, while the employee should contribute half by taking annual, parental or unpaid leave.

While Mr Campinos in his summer message pretends he is building a caring organisation with greater collaboration, our proposal to the benefit of families during the pandemic continues to be rejected.

In conclusion, the President has missed the opportunity to put his words into concrete practice.

For the above reasons, the CSC members of the GCC give a negative opinion on the document.

The CSC members of the GCC

____
2 New Career System and Invalidity Lump Sum: Appeals rejected”, CSC paper of 19-03-2021 (sc21036cp)
3 “Reward exercise for pandemic year 2020: “Strong Together” but 30% of staff excluded”, CSC paper of 22-03-2021 (sc21040cp)
4 “Education and Childcare reform: CSC counter-proposal and GCC opinion”, CSC paper of 14-05-2021 (sc21056cp)
5 “Pandemic and special leave for a shared effort”, CSC letter of 11-02-2021 (sc21012cl)

I loved the part about HR (a term I loathe): “The term Personnel Department is replaced by Human Resources Department. Making this department “impersonnel” and talking about staff just as resources instead of people can be perceived as contradicting the word human.”

Finally there’s this:

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 9/2021:
Note to the GCC repelling the practice on application of Article 70 ServRegs to children over 26 years of age

The CSC members of the General Consultative Committee (GCC) give the following opinion on document GCC/DOC 9/2021.

The GCC shall be consulted on any proposal to amend the legal norms applying to staff (and pensioners), and concerning the conditions of employment of the whole or part of them. Furthermore, the President of the Office may inform the GCC on any other question of a general nature1.

GCC/DOC 9/2021 is a note addressed to the twenty GCC members explaining that the long-established practice of granting Article 70 ServRegs to children over 26 of age who fulfil certain conditions is repelled. According to the note, sixteen children are concerned who currently benefit from the grant. The administration has not been able to inform us about the number of children not benefiting from the grant and whose cases are currently the subject of litigation.

The note explains that legal reasons would justify this change in practice, but does not give any reasons as to why the practice was introduced in the first place, which would now no longer apply. On the basis of the information available, the CSC members of the GCC are not in a position to make a legal assessment, on which they could base an opinion for or against the change in practice. The impact on litigation by staff / pensioners is also unknown and the CSC members of the GCC do not intend to risk interference in these proceedings on such a basis.

In the GCC meeting on 6 July PD43 explained that the purpose was primarily to inform the GCC, but that consultation would be appropriate due to the fact that the practice had been a long-established one. The note itself does not serve to inform staff / pensioners, who will be informed otherwise (see penultimate paragraph in the note). As a result, the reason for seeking an opinion from the GCC members, instead of merely informing them, is not clear. Voting for or against the note, or even abstaining, are therefore not valid options.

Based on the above, the incomplete material provided in the document and the insufficient answers provided by the administration leave the CSC members of the GCC in a situation that information material to the matter in issue and on which there should be consultation is missing. Proper consultation is thus frustrated by its absence2. Therefore, the CSC members of the GCC, taking due notice of Article 38(3) ServRegs, are unable to express their opinion. They explicitly refrain from expressing their opinion by voting for or against the document, and they also refrain from abstaining.

The CSC members of the GCC

____
1 See Articles 38(2) and 38(4) ServRegs
2 See also Judgment No. 3408

The notorious PD43 is mentioned in there. In summary, and bearing in mind that people who don’t work for the EPO might not care about pertinent details, it seems clear that staff representatives come well prepare for these meetings, only to face careless, reckless and sociopathic people who drive the Office into the ground. Guess who cares more about the Office?

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  1. [Meme] 70 Days of Non-Compliance

    António Campinos would rather fall on his sword than correct the errors or work to undo the damage caused by Team Battistelli, which is still at the EPO



  2. EPO “Board 28” Meeting: Imaginary Dialogue Between EPO President Campinos and the Chair of the Administrative Council, Josef Kratochvíl

    The EPO‘s chaotic state, which persists after Benoît Battistelli‘s departure, is a state of lawlessness and cover-up



  3. Links 16/9/2021: Linux Mint Has New Web Site, LibreOffice 7.2.1, KDE Plasma 5.23 Beta, and Sailfish OS Verla

    Links for the day



  4. If Git Can be Done Over the Command Line and E-mail, It Can Also be Done Over Gemini (Instead of Bloated Web Browsers)

    In order to keep Git lean and mean whilst at the same time enabling mouse (mousing and clicking) navigation we encourage people everywhere to explore gemini://



  5. Techrights Examines a Wide Array/Range of Gemini Clients/Browsers

    After spending many months examining an array of different types of software for Gemini (including but not limited to clients/browsers) we take stock of what exists, what's supported (it varies a bit), and which one might be suitable for use by geeks and non-geeks



  6. Links 16/9/2021: KStars 3.5.5 and Chafa 1.8

    Links for the day



  7. Trusting Microsoft With Security is a Clown Show

    A quick and spontaneous video about this morning's post regarding a major new revelation that reaffirms a longstanding trend; Microsoft conflates national security (back doors) with security



  8. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, September 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, September 15, 2021



  9. Microsoft Azure and Back/Bug Doors in GNU/Linux: Fool Me Once (Shame on You) / Fool Me Twice (Shame on Me)

    "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me," goes the old saying...



  10. Deleted Post: “LibreOffice is Becoming Dominated by a Bunch of Corporates, and Has no Place for the Enthusiastic Amateur.”

    Chris Sherlock, an insider of LibreOffice, cautions about the direction of this very important and widely used project



  11. Links 16/9/2021: Unifont 14.0.01, LibreOffice on ODF 1.3, Mozilla Pushing Ads (Sponsored 'Firefox Suggest'), and Microsoft Pushes Proprietary Direct3D via Mesa

    Links for the day



  12. Links 15/9/2021: Another Azure Catastrophe and Darktable 3.6.1

    Links for the day



  13. Open Invention Network (OIN) Recognises a Risk Posed to Cryptocurrencies (Danger From Software Patents), But OIN Still Proposes the Wrong Solutions

    Square is joining OIN, but it's another example of banking/financial institutions choosing to coexist with software patents instead of putting an end to them



  14. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, September 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, September 14, 2021



  15. (Super)Free Software As a Right – The Manifesto

    "Software text has long been recognized as “speech”, and is covered under the very same copyright laws as conventional printed matter."



  16. Links 15/9/2021: Java 17 / JDK 17 Released and ExpressVPN Sold

    Links for the day



  17. Latest Public Talk (Over BigBlueButton) by Richard Stallman is Now Online

    This video has been released; it starts with an old talk and then proceeds to a new discussion (14 minutes from the start)



  18. Richard Stallman Is Not Surrendering His Free Speech

    The homepage of Dr. Stallman looked like this on Saturday, 20 years since the September 11 attacks in the US, noting that “[t]oday we commemorate the September 11 attacks, which killed President Allende of Chile and installed Pinochet’s murderous military dictatorship. More than 3,000 dissidents were killed or “disappeared” by the Pinochet regime. The USA operated a destabilization campaign in Chile, and the September 11, 1973, attacks were part of that campaign.”



  19. Twitter -- Like Google's YouTube -- is 'Hiding' Tweets From People Who Follow You

    So-called 'entertainment' platforms disguised as 'social' aren't the future of media; they need to be rejected



  20. How to Track the Development or Construction of the Techrights Web Site and Gemini Capsule

    Following some busy publication schedule (heavy lifting for weeks) we're stopping a bit or slowing down for the purpose of site (or capsule) 'construction'; here's a status update



  21. Links 14/9/2021: Libinput 1.19, Kali Linux 2021.3, and ExTiX Deepin 21.9

    Links for the day



  22. [Meme] [Teaser] EPO Management, Always Right

    The only permissible and allowable/exercise-able “Right” at the EPO is “Shut up and work”; if you strike, the dictator du jour will authorise a drone strike



  23. Recent Focus on Git, Gemini, and Upcoming Series About EPO Abuses

    Some updates about this past weekend's (and Monday's) work, which improves transparency and resilience ahead of the next 'blockbusters'



  24. Links 14/9/2021: Ubuntu 21.10 Kernel Freeze Thursday and Mailchimp (Spam) Bought

    Links for the day



  25. IRC Proceedings: Monday, September 13, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, September 13, 2021



  26. Links 13/9/2021: Zink's Completion and 72% of Top 50 Steam Games Can Run on GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  27. This Coming Saturday Richard Stallman Will Give His First Public Talk Since May

    Cordial headsup to Free/libre software aficionados; “Richard Stallman will be giving a talk in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, September, 18, titled Free Software and the GNU General Public License,” his Web site says. It’s noted here.



  28. Links 13/9/2021: GDB 11.1, Only 2 New Debian Developers in 2 Months

    Links for the day



  29. The Register Cannot Stop Trolling Linus Torvalds (It Recently Corrected Falsehoods in the Headlines, But No Lessons Have Been Learned)

    The media coverage about “Linux 5.15-rc1″ says a lot about the general agenda of many publications, such as The Register with Microsoft operatives inside it



  30. Links 13/9/2021: First Linux 5.15 Release Candidate and Fedora 35 Beta Tomorrow

    Links for the day


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