Bonum Certa Men Certa

Mark Rutte Under Pressure to Stop Battistelli's EPO From Violating Laws With Impunity

Battistelli Orb



Summary: Pressure is growing in the EPO's second-largest 'base' to actually enforce the law because Germany does not seem to be interested

THE staff union of the EPO, SUEPO, has finally translated a bunch of articles which we hoped it would translate. These were translated into several languages, but English is the language we focus on (Spanish is the second language). We have converted these translations into HTML and highlighted a few bits which we found more important (not much new information there). Here is the original from FNV:

FNV: ‘Rutte must intervene at the European Patent Office to prevent infringement of employees’ rights’

The Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) has called on Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Wouter Koolmees in a letter to intervene at the European Patent Office (EPO). The EPO is once again breaking Dutch law.

The Netherlands partly responsible

Marieke Manschot, Director of FNV Government: “As a host country for foreign businesses, the Netherlands is (partly) responsible for the rights of the employees on its territory and must therefore intervene to protect employees’ rights. In order to continue attracting and retaining foreign investors, good working conditions are necessary.’

Management conducting a reign of terror

The EPO is proposing to abolish the majority of permanent employment contracts, even if the nature of the work does not require this. The contracts for future employees will be replaced by temporary contracts with a maximum duration of five years, which is extendible. This is in breach of the Dutch Work and Security Act. Staff representatives, such as the works council or union representatives, will also no longer be involved in the hiring policy for new employees.

‘The abuses at the EPO are stacking up,’ says Tuur Elzinga, Vice Chair of the FNV. ‘We have already taken action along with the staff as the management were intimidating staff and critical individuals had been dismissed with immediate effect. Now the employees are also being denied the security of a permanent contract. The Dutch government must intervene to stop this reign of terror by the management.’

Infringement of European legislation

Like all other Member States of the European Union, the Netherlands has a responsibility towards employees working on its territory. This means, among other things, that employees in temporary employment are not treated worse than employees in permanent employment. Abuse by switching to only successive temporary employment contracts, for example, must therefore be prevented. In this context, the FNV also refers to infringements of European legislation (Directive 1999/70/EC).

On 30 January 2018, the proposal to abolish permanent employment contracts will be discussed by the EPO in Munich. In March, the proposal will be presented to the Administrative Council of the EPO. Elzinga: ‘Dutch representatives at the EPO will be present at both meetings. This will be an excellent opportunity to raise the issue of the breach of the employees’ rights.’


Another short article about that. Note Mark Rutte's role in all this:

‘New abuses at European Patent Office’

The Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) is sounding the alarm on new abuses at the European Patent Office. According to the union, the European organisation, which is based in Rijswijk, is on the cusp of breaking Dutch law.

The patent office has plans to abolish the majority of permanent contracts.

The contracts for future employees will be replaced by temporary contracts with a maximum duration of five years, which is extendible. You can’t simply do that here, states the FNV in a letter to Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Wouter Koolmees. The union believes that the government needs to intervene.

“The abuses at the European Patent Office are stacking up,” says Tuur Elzinga, Vice Chair of the FNV. “We have already taken action along with the staff as the management were intimidating staff and critical individuals had been dismissed with immediate effect.”


A somewhat long article with an old photo:

‘Further abuses at European Patent Office’

[Photo]

Demonstration against patent office, Archive photograph 2016, Remco Out

RIJSWIJK - The Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) is sounding the alarm on new abuses at the European Patent Office. According to the union, the organisation, which is based in Rijswijk, is on the cusp of breaking Dutch law with plans to abolish the majority of permanent contracts. The Patent Office refutes the claim.

The FNV is complaining about a plan to replace contracts for future employees with temporary contracts with a maximum duration of five years, which is extendible. You can’t simply do that here, states the union in a letter to Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Wouter Koolmees. The union believes that the government needs to intervene.

‘The abuses at the European Patent Office are stacking up,’ says Tuur Elzinga, Vice Chair of the FNV. ‘We have already taken action along with the staff as the management were intimidating staff and critical individuals had been dismissed with immediate effect.’

'Nothing decided yet'

The Patent Office denies that anything has been decided yet. The office is also absolutely not bound by national employment laws, as an international organisation, a spokesperson responded. According to him, European legislation is also not applicable, as the office is not an EU institution.

The European Patent Office was set up in 1977. Countries outside the EU are also members. 6800 people work there, 2700 of these in Rijswijk. These are mainly permanent employees. The organisation’s Administrative Council is meeting in March about ways to hire temporary employees more easily.


And more from the local media:

FNV: ‘European Patent Office infringing on employees’ rights’

The Financieel Dagblad newspaper has reported that the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) has called on Prime Minister Rutte and Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Koolmees in a letter to intervene at the European Patent Office (EPO) in Rijswijk.

The FNV has sent the letter because the EPO, which is located in Rijswijk, is planning to abolish the majority of permanent contracts. For future employees, only contracts for a maximum of five years will be available. These contracts would be extendible. This is not currently legal in the Netherlands.

‘The abuses at the EPO are stacking up,’ Tuur Elzinga, Vice Chair of the FNV, tells Financieel Dagblad. ‘We have already taken action along with the staff as the management were intimidating staff and critical individuals had been dismissed with immediate effect. Now the employees are also being denied the security of a permanent contract.’

According to Marieke Manschot, Director of FNV Government, immunity is the major problem. ‘Thanks to the Vienna Convention, the EPO enjoys immunity as an international organisation. So it is very difficult to tackle things, as you cannot make any demands. The EPO must observe Dutch employment law, but it is not doing so.’

The plan to abolish permanent employment contracts will be discussed by the EPO on 30 January.


Considering the attacks SUEPO has come under over the years, we generally regard copies to be necessary. Quite a few times in the past SUEPO was forced to withdraw something it had published. SUEPO's Web site has more translations as PDF files.

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