Bonum Certa Men Certa

In the EPO's Official Photo Op, “Only One of the Faces is Actually FFPE-EPO”

What's not in the photo op says more than what's in it

MoU signed with FFPE



Yellow unions
Source: Wikipedia on yellow unions



Summary: Why there are legitimate reasons to believe that FFPE-EPO is essentially being used as a yellow union, in order to help crush SUEPO and incite the media against SUEPO

THE EPO is having a propaganda day today. The rebuttals we wrote yesterday [1, 2] and so far today [1, 2] are just the tip of the iceberg. It would be interesting to know what role -- if any -- the Washington-based FTI Consulting plays in this propaganda. It does, after all, receive nearly 80,000 euros per month from the EPO for propaganda.



Merpel has published an article titled "EPO deal with trade union - not what it seems" in which she wrote:

In fact, as today's announcement makes clear, the union that has signed the MoU is FFPE-EPO. What is the significance of this? Well, FFPE-EPO exists only in the Hague office of the EPO, and is believed to have about 70 members, whereas SUEPO has about 3400 (about half of the EPO staff, and increasing over recent years). While any union recognition is to be welcomed, the concern is that the EPO is trying to present this as showing that all is well, when in fact, with the overwhelmingly larger union, the disciplinary sanctions remain against the officials and there is no sign that a dialogue is possible at all. The social situation remains in a toxic state, and, under the current management, seems likely to stay that way.

The reports of the Board 28 meeting from last month suggested that perhaps the Administrative Council meeting this month on 16/17 March might be a turning point. Merpel still hopes that it will be, and that today's announcement will not be used to suggest that the social and industrial issues within the EPO's workforce area already being resolved.


Among the early comments we see:

Indeed the Union is a little unlikely. First it is only open to staff in The Hague (so isn't an 'EPO' Union per se) and was originally set up for Dutch members of staff (they felt unfairly treated with regard to not being eligible for expat benefits so may also include other Hague staff not eligible for expat rights). Secondly, even Dutch colleagues are in the dark and the public pages of their website were last updated in 2008. If the committee hasn't changed in more than 7 years then they must be popular. On the other hand they have no elected staff representatives despite the voting rules having been changed (unilaterally by BB) to prevent block voting of Suepo members. Their support seems minimal.

Next Tuesday there is an office-wide strike vote. Staff are not allowed to campaign for it and any communication is limited to 50 people (although nobody would dare to send even one - Emails with the word Suepo are blocked too). I guess next Tuesday we and the Administrative Council will see any fruits of this MoU.



One person asks: "Has anyone seen the MoU?"

We are going to publish it later. We received some leaked material.

“It seems only one of the faces is actually FFPE-EPO, all the rest are either EPO management or FFPE-European Council, which is a different branch of the FFPR organization.”
      --Anonymous
Another person uses sarcasm with reversal and says: "It is indeed most pleasing to see that the status of the EPO has finally been recognised by the FFPE."

"If you need a larger Photo to identify the miscreants," wrote a person to us, there is one at the EPO's Web site. [via this press release which targets the media]

This person added: "It seems only one of the faces is actually FFPE-EPO, all the rest are either EPO management or FFPE-European Council, which is a different branch of the FFPR organization."

This in itself is interesting (if true). The image metadata (above) says: "EPO signs MoU with trade union FFPE-EPO (From left to right: EPO Vice-President DG5 Raimund Lutz; FFPE Vice-Chair Aldert De Haan, EPO Vice-President DG2 Alberto Casado; President FFPE European Council Simon Coates, EPO Vice-President DG4 Željko Topić; EPO President Benoît Battistelli, EPO Principal Director Human Resources Elodie Bergot, Federal President FFPE Council of Europe John Parsons, FFPE-EPO Chair Samuel van der Bijl, President FFPE European Commission Pierre-Philippe Bacri, EPO Vice-President DG1 Guillaume Minnoye."

Only one person, Samuel van der Bijl, is from FFPE-EPO, so this is probably true.

One other new comment states:

The President recently dismissed two leading SUEPO officials. I wonder how much commitment is behind the FFPE-EPO signatures, considering these circumstances

And once again we see the EPO publish information which is incomplete, to say the least. The publication should include the relevant facts - see comment #1: about 70 members, only in The hague. The EPO should not be able to claim immunity for such publications.

SUEPO and interested third parties should be given the possibility to challenge this and other publications, as is the case for newspaper articles etc. The EPO itself is not shy to place such request, e.g. to Techrights.



We can't help but wonder if Battistelli and those loyal to him deal with a union which they themselves created or at least groomed/propped up for their own selfish purposes. One person wrote to us and said: "Just wanted to share my thought that FFPE unions Actionszenen remind me a lot of AUB, a "Union" set up and funded by Siemens. Timing of The MoU is too much of a "coincidence". Would really like to know what Team Battistelli have or promised them..."

Looking into the Siemens example (also in Germany), here's what we have: "In his first public comments since the scandal broke in February, Mr Schelsky is quoted as saying: "I was supposed to build up an umbrella organisation with the money. And that is what I did . . . I was secretly employed as a lobbyist for Siemens. There was a clear order from the top of the company."

'Mr Schelsky's comments further raise the pressure on Siemens and its management. Siemens is suspected of helping finance the AUB to build a counterweight to its main IG Metall union. The AUB affair is separate from a financially far bigger bribery investigation into several divisions of Siemens.

“Siemens is suspected of helping finance the AUB to build a counterweight to its main IG Metall union. The AUB affair is separate from a financially far bigger bribery investigation into several divisions of Siemens.”
      --CorpWatch
"Siemens declined to comment on Mr Schelsky's claims but said it was co-operating with authorities in both cases to clear up the matter as quickly as possible. It has recently lost both its chief executive and chairman as a result of the scandals. Both deny any wrongdoing. Johannes Feldmayer, a management board member, is a suspect in the AUB affair and was briefly remanded in custody earlier this year. He is currently on leave from Siemens at his own request and his contract will not be renewed at the end of the year."

Siemens is close to the EPO (the President and the EPO even pose for photos together -- some of which we used here before!) and the EPO recently appointed to head of communications the person whom Siemens had allegedly hired from Transparency International to help address the bribery scandal purely by public perception (reputation laundering).

We are not suggesting that this is enough evidence with which to paint FFPE bogus/yellow union, but we just want to give readers food for thought. Organisations such as the EPO don't have a reputation for ethics and as we showed here over the years (usually in relation to Microsoft), corrupt officials often end up calling bribes "financial assistance" or "marketing help" (euphemisms). This can sometimes happen in the case of pseudo-unions that are propped up while the other ones are viciously crushed using witchhunts, defamation, mental torture and so on.

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