11.26.22

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“Bringing Teams Together” at the EPO Means Exactly the Opposite

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 7c176ea40b2c4b3e3b120585200ba457
EPO Staff Pushed Around
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The European Patent Office’s (EPO) staff is complaining that the EPO's “Bringing Teams Together” or “New Management of Office Space” is basically done without consulting staff and to the detriment of staff, in effect making life miserable for those who can stop or prevent unwarranted monopolies

THE Benoît Battistelli era is not truly over. Staff of the EPO is still being crushed and satisfaction levels remain as low as ever [1, 2] (since Battistelli came).

“When the management treats its own staff so poorly what is to be expected from its attitude towards the wider public?”Today we share a letter sent to two cronies of António Campinos, one of whom a former colleague from Alicante who shamelessly promotes violation of labour regulations.

The net effect is sadder staff that’s being bullied into granting European software patents in order to fake "production". The term production doesn’t mean actual work, it just means granting more and more monopolies each year, irrespective of the rules that were meant to govern the Office.

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO wrote the following about last week’s “Communiqué [...] announc[ing] the revival of the “Bringing Teams Together” project which aims to empty EPO buildings to save office space.”

As we mentioned before, the premise is a lie and it’s not about saving space in the premises. There are other motivations that are kept secret (or unspoken of). Here is the CSC’s message:

Bringing Teams Together: Everybody will have to move

Dear colleagues,

In the Communiqué of 17 November 2022, the Office announced the revival of the “Bringing Teams Together” project which aims to empty EPO buildings to save office space. The project was never submitted to statutory consultation and only presented for information in the GCC meeting of 5 July 2022 (see also our GCC opinion).

Before the administration runs this project, we request to be informed of the lessons learnt from previous projects such as the Isar Daylight Project and the Vienna relocation.

The “Bringing Teams Together” project remains unpopular because the administration’s arguments in its defence remain unconvincing. The statement “it is very likely that everybody in these buildings will have to move” is not understandable for many teams which are already together.

We believe that the exercise, in the current context, will neither improve the working atmosphere in the Office nor increase confidence in the decision of the upper management.

Here is the latter sent by the CSC to Campinos ‘protegee’ Nellie Simon and Steve Rowan:

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

European Patent Office
80298 Munich
Germany

Central Staff Committee
Comité central du personnel
Zentraler Personalausschuss

centralSTCOM@epo.org
Reference: sc22139cl
Date: 18/11/2022

Ms Nellie Simon
Site Manager Munich City
Mr Steve Rowan
Site Manager The Hague
By email

OPEN LETTER

Revival of the unpopular “Bringing Teams Together” project

Dear Ms Simon,
Dear Mr Rowan,

In the Communiqué of 17 November 2022, the Office has announced the revival of the “Bringing Teams Together” project which aims to empty EPO buildings to save office space. The project was never submitted to statutory consultation and only presented for information in the GCC meeting of 5 July 2022 (see also our GCC opinion).

According to the Communiqué, the Office bases its decision on average building occupancy rates observed since September over a period of 10 weeks: 33% in Munich (but with peaks at 40% from Tuesday to Thursday) and 37% in The Hague.

First, if new observation data were used, it constitutes evidence that the project should be discussed and creates an opportunity to submit it to the COHSEC, and to the GCC for consultation.

Second, the New Ways of Working cannot be considered to have reached a steady state in such a short period. Observation of staff working patterns can only be reliable over a longer period of at least one complete year.

Third, since September 2022, working in the Office premises has continued to remain unattractive:

• The PschorrHöfe buildings 7 and 8 have no canteen and no cafeteria. The only available cafeteria is insufficient and causes long waiting times for a coffee or a snack.

• The repair works (e.g. lifts) and new installation (e.g. LED panels) were a source of not only inconvenience but also considerable acoustic pollution.

These conditions, among other reasons, forced many of our colleagues to switch to teleworking.

The “Bringing Teams Together” project remains unpopular because the administration’s arguments in its defence remain unconvincing. The statement “it is very likely that everybody in these buildings will have to move” is not understandable for many teams which are already together.

Before you run this project, we request to be informed of the lessons learnt from previous projects such as the Isar Daylight Project and the Vienna relocation.

What can be understood from the Communiqué is that line managers will now be tasked with checking the history of presence of their team members in the Office premises and, if it is deemed insufficient since September, impose a workplace-for-the-day even if an allocated fixed workplace was requested in the first place.

We believe that this exercise, in the current context, will neither improve the working atmosphere in the Office nor increase confidence in the decision of the upper management.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

Cc.: Ms Edda Franz, Principal Director General Services

When the management treats its own staff so poorly what is to be expected from its attitude towards the wider public? As we shall show in the next video and article, the EPO is stomping on EU citizens on behalf of corporations, the majority of which aren’t even European.

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