Bonum Certa Men Certa

The 'Offenses' of EPO Staff Representatives Boil Down to Truth-Telling

NOSSummary: Dutch television examined the documents of the mock 'trials' against SUEPO leaders and concluded that whistle-blowing (i.e. exposing abuses by EPO management), not misconduct, is the reason for overzealous dismissals

Benoît Battistelli’s harassment of staff representatives may some day culminate in his own dismissal (just a rumour for now). He has caused tremendous damage to the EPO and he is personally connected to a lot of people in management -- people who are also among the biggest culprits.



Battistelli, who has a long habit (or addiction, or paranoia) of walking around with private bodyguards, compares his critics to something like 'snipers' or 'Mafia' (the 'sniper' remarks are clearly taken out of context). Battistelli deluded himself into thinking he's fighting some kind of war on terror, but the only threat he has faced so far is embarrassing information coming out to the media. The crushing of the unions and the pretexts for it are all about confidentiality, as if secrecy -- as judged by management (to protect it from criticism/scrutiny) -- is the most important thing. Truth itself is now an enemy of Team Battistelli, which is basically a self-guarding clique.

The following recent article (from the Dutch Broadcast Foundation), which SUEPO provided a translation of with images included [PDF], remarks on the nature of the allegations, which we highlight in yellow below:

Protest against ‘intimidation’ at European Patent Office



The European Patent Office in Rijswijk Marc Hamer / NOS

By:

Hugo van der Parre Research Editor

Bas de Vries NOS Net Editor

Employees of the European Patent Office (EPO) in Rijswijk are taking to the streets today. The employees are protesting the dismissal of two colleagues and the demotion of a third. Among the employees is the Dutch chair of the union, Elizabeth Hardon.

Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld representing the union speaks of “outright intimidation”. The location in Rijswijk is the largest international organisation in the Netherlands, with 2,700 employees.

The punished employees all work for the European Patent Office union from its headquarters in Munich. According to the protestors, they are facing the consequences of the fact that they dared to criticise the “tyrannical” head of EPO, Frenchman Benoît Battistelli.

Head of the organisation Battistelli has an entirely different interpretation. According to him, he was forced to strike hard as the three employees did not follow internal rules in various ways and discredited their own organisation.

Lawyer Zegveld: ‘They are protesting against a culture of intimidation'

Tensions within the European Patent Office have been there for quite some time, but the issue now appears to be escalating. “It seems that constitutional rights just don’t apply here,” one of the employees said, who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear for reprisals. “We even have a kind of secret service that monitors the employees.”

The only supervisory entity at the top is the so-called Management Board, which consists almost entirely of the directors of the national patent offices of the 38 EPO countries. But they have yet to take a stand, according to the Suepo union. When Hardon appealed to the Management Board for help leading up to her dismissal, they just referred her back to Battistelli. He then not only kicked her out, but also cut her accumulated pension rights as an extra sanction.

We even have a kind of secret service that monitors the employees.

European Patent Office employee

A representative of the French parliament for French citizens abroad, Pierre-Yves Le Borgn', called the sanctions imposed on the employees “a disgrace and highly unjust”. Member of the Dutch House of Representatives John Kerstens (of the Labour Party) wants “the Dutch cabinet to do everything in its power to ensure normal work relationships”. Kerstens: “Employee rights that are seen as completely normal cannot be infringed upon to such a degree that employees feel threatened and intimidated.”

Today’s protest march in The Hague will go from the French to the German embassy. The disgruntled employees hope to get the governments of both countries to intervene, and hope the Dutch government will do the same.

Rutte

The Dutch cabinet has yet to make a clear statement on the issue. In response to questions from the House of Representatives, Minister Asscher previously underlined that part of the problem is that the board of management of the European Patent Office has legal immunity. That means, among other things, that the Dutch Inspectorate (I-SZW) cannot be granted access to the offices in Rijswijk as long as Battistelli does not allow it.

The European Patent Office is currently building a new office near the current building in Rijswijk, costing €205 million. Prime Minister Rutte helped Battistelli lay the first stone in the summer of 2014. On its website, the city of Rijswijk states that the EPO “makes an important contribution to the Dutch economy by providing jobs to tens of thousands of people in The Hague area”.

Yesterday, the NOS asked the European Patent Office for a response to the criticism surrounding head of the organisation Battistelli. But as of last night, they had yet to respond.

The ‘charge’: slander campaign or constructed?

According to Benoît Battistelli, he is the victim of a targeted action led by his own staff. “We can now openly say that over the past two or three years, we have been the victim of an orchestrated campaign of which the goal was to destabilise and discredit the organisation,” the EPO president said last October in an interview with Financieele Dagblad.

The dismissed Dutch chair of the office’s own union in Munich is suspected of things including helping another colleague in that campaign. She is also said to have threatened colleagues and expressed that an internal procedure was being carried out against her. The latter is prohibited at the EPO as well.

According to union lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, this is clearly a constructed charge against union chair Hardon. For example, documents examined by the NOS show that the ‘threat’ entailed no more than warning a colleague that they would be criticised if they accepted a certain position.

Nevertheless, Battistelli is cracking down hard on Elizabeth Hardon. She is not only being fired; she is also losing 20% of her accumulated pension rights. The latter is stricter than the advice the president received from an internal ‘disciplinary committee’ that examined her case.

That applies even more strongly to the case against the ex-chair of the Suepo union. His disciplinary committee recommended leaving most charges against him alone, but in his case Battistelli also opted for dismissal. The union treasurer’s salary went down by eight pay scales.



This is clearly not justice. It's very gross injustice. We decided to make more of the information publicly available because only by accessing the claims can one see how truly ridiculous they are. The above says that "documents examined by the NOS show that the ‘threat’ entailed no more than warning a colleague that they would be criticised if they accepted a certain position."

The EPO does not have a President; it has a ruthless emperor. It doesn't matter what the law says and what people below him may say, he and only he will have the last word. Appointments at the EPO's management follow the standards of third world countries and so does the behaviour of this management. Where is the German media, which is suspiciously reluctant to shed light on any of this?

Recent Techrights' Posts

IBM Sends Money to Microsoft
Red Hat basically helps sponsor the company that's a attacking our community
When the Cancer 'Metastasises'
We had a red flag
Attacks on the EPC: Reality and Fiction
EPO leaks
 
Links 02/03/2024: Actual Journalists Under Attack, More Software Patents Being Challenged
Links for the day
Gemini Links 02/03/2024: NixOS on GPD, Meson Woes
Links for the day
statCounter March 2024 Statistics (Preliminary)
Notice Asia
Links 02/03/2024: More Lawsuits Against Microsoft, Facebook Killing Hard-To-Find News
Links for the day
ZDNet (Red Ventures) Works for Microsoft (Redmond), Many Of Its Pages Are Spam/Advertisements Paid for by Microsoft
Here is the "smoking gun"
Wikipedia Demotes CNET Due to Chatbot-Generated Spew as 'Articles'; It Should Do the Same to ZDNet (Also Red Ventures, Also Microsoft Propaganda)
Redmond Ventures?
The Direction WordPress (GPL) Has Taken is an Embarrassment
it comes with strings attached
March in Techrights (EPO Litigation and More)
One theme we'll explore a lot when it comes to GNU/Linux is the extent to which communities truly serve communities
Don't Forget to Also Follow Tux Machines
We've split the material
Yandex Usage Has Surged Since the Invasion of Ukraine, Microsoft Fell to 0.7% (It Was 1.7% Before the 'Bing Chat' Hype Campaign)
In Soviet Russia, Bing searches user
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 01, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, March 01, 2024
Sellout Completed: Linux Foundation Converging With the Gates Foundation
not a joke
Hitler Rants Parodies on Steve Ballmer
Parody created using clips from Downfall (Der Untergang)
With Windows This Low (27% of the "OS" Market), Steve Ballmer Would Have Thrown Another Chair
The media produced many puff pieces about Nadella at 10 (as CEO), but what has he done for Windows? Nothing.
[Meme] The Naked President
EPO Suffers From Shrinkage
Understanding Cardinal George Pell prosecution, Institutional abuse & Debian cybertorture
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 01/03/2024: Many More Layoffs, "Funerals" for Software Patents in the US
Links for the day
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: OFFLFIRSOCH 2024 and Dark Streets Tech Demo
Links for the day
Links 01/03/2024: Navalny Funeral and Media Under Attack
Links for the day
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: Making Art and the Concept of Work Management
Links for the day
Schriftleitergesetz: Hiding the Holocaust with censorship
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] His Lips Moved
Here is your national "news" for today
statCounter: GNU/Linux Exceeded 6% in Asia Last Month (Compared to 4% Just 12 Months Earlier)
numbers may be biased
What the End of Journalism Looks Like
All on the same day
Links 01/03/2024: Microsoft 'Retiring' More Services and Raspberry Pi Celebrates 3rd Birthday (Launched on February 29th, 2012)
Links for the day
Women's Empowerment
Sponsored by Bill Gates
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: Speed Bumps and Analog Stuff
Links for the day
[Meme] Those Greedy EPO Examiners
Says the litigation industry, charging 300 euros an hour per attorney
EPO Discriminates Against Families of Its Own Workers, the Union Explains Legal Basis Upon Which It's Likely Illegal and Must be Challenged
To the Council, the EPO boasts about its wealth (seeking to impress by how much breaking the law "pays off")
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 29, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, February 29, 2024
Links 01/03/2024: Misuse of Surveillance Against UK-Based Journalism, EPO Conflict Now in the Media
Links for the day
Taking a Break From Paid Promotion of the Illegal, Unconstitutional Kangaroo Court for Patents (UPC)
JUVE returns to its 'roots'?
FSFE admits losing funds from bequest by insulting and ignoring Fellowship representative
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gemini Links 29/02/2024: Raspberry Pi Incus Cluster and Aya 0.5.0 Coming Soon
Links for the day
Links 29/02/2024: Layoffs at Apple, Expedia, and Electronic Arts
Links for the day
Gemini Links 29/02/2024: Web Enshittification and Firefox user-agents
Links for the day
Spiked Piece/Censoreed Piece: 'Microsoft Copilot is a gimmick', says top CIO
Issues relate to connectivity and cost
Enrico Zini, Mattia Rizzolo, Plagiarism & Debian
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] Clergy of GNU/Linux (Corporations Like IBM)
Volunteers as powerless "followers" of companies that "harvest" their labour
There Will Be Lots More Apple Layoffs (Already Years in the Making)
The corporate media still tries to shape the narrative to prevent panic or delay market hysteria
Latest SUEPO (Staff Union of EPO) Report For The Hague Reveals EPO Does Not Obey Court Orders, Refuses to Allow Workers to Freely Talk to One Another
working in a place where communication itself is restricted
[Meme] The Oppression Will Continue Until EPO 'Quality' Improves
wonder why EPO morale is so low?
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 28, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Outreachy, GSoC-mentors & Debian-Private may soon become public records in federal court
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock