Bonum Certa Men Certa

Response to Latest Call for EPO Strike Contains Lies From Campinos (and Another Warning That Quality of European Patents Has Collapsed)

Choking on his own lies. Lies, lies, lies.

Summary: Before the unlawful "Strike Regulations" were thrown out by ILO-AT in Geneva Campinos tried to talk down a strike that would happen the following year. Today we look at the response to that talk...

THE EPO has long had illegal "Strike Regulations", made up by Benoît Battistelli with complicity of many states. We still have a couple more parts to publish in a series about this complicity.

In the meantime, consider the time Campinos (who had already enjoyed these unlawful "Strike Regulations" for 1.5 years) said: "I appreciate that for some of you, things may not be changing as quickly as you would like."

Another couple of years have passed since then. Nothing has improved. In the response below, published 25 months ago, we can clearly see the “Message from the President”, who lied to the staff while crushing the staff. As the union put it back then, "in response to the call for strike from SUEPO, President Campinos raised several points. We have now carried out a fact-checking exercise. Financial study, social dialogue, production pressure, disciplinary cases, career progression, ballot for a strike..."

Incredibly enough, all this time later many of the same points remain valid. We thus reproduce the publication below.

27.11.2019 su19028mp – 0.2.1/0.3.2

President: “I appreciate that for some of you, things may not be changing as quickly as you would like.”

In his recent “Message from the President”, in response to the call for strike from SUEPO, President Campinos raised several points. We have now carried out a fact-checking exercise. Our report is below.

President: “Financial Study, we want to assess which levers are most appropriate”

Fact: The President presented a heavily-biased Financial Study without the involvement of Staff Representation. His call for feedback, asking staff to choose between the Measures, is divisive and a psychological trick to feign respect, community and cooperation. The President has repeatedly stated that the most important conclusion, that we have to fill a €5.8 billion gap, is not open for discussion.

President: “There have been 89 meetings so far between the Office and Staff Representation”

Fact: The President’s delegates who participated in the various meetings were never given the mandate to properly negotiate. We must conclude that the purpose for most meetings was simply to buy time. Again and again, Staff Representatives and SUEPO filed both proposals and critical analysis. On their part, management never entered into any real dialogue. The high number of meetings is now being used for marketing purposes with the Administrative Council. So much has gone wrong at the Office: from a human perspective, from a patent quality perspective, from a perspective of fairness and openness. We are eager to renew the EPO and move away from the past. The President, however, sticks to the past and the same management.

President: “We decided to lower the original production target for 2018 and for 2019”

Fact: This is very true. Unfortunately, the production target is not the problem, it is the productivity target. And there they are again, the frequent half-truths of management. In fact, overall productivity and production pressure has increased in recent years. An Examiner has 20 minutes’ less time to complete a product in 2019 compared to 2018 (2 hours less than in 2014). The target for 2019 is 1.77 days per product. As of today, 1.79 days per product has been reached.

EPO productivity charts

President: “Disciplinary cases (...) One has been resolved and the other is pending. Seven cases have been settled”

Fact: The President has taken 14 months to settle just one urgent case concerning dismissal. Another similarly outrageous case in The Hague is still pending. But there are other Battistelli-era cases the President does not even want to speak about. And then, of course, all managers responsible for these years of unbearable pressure and false accusations are still in place. We still have a long way to go before being able to close the dark chapter of the past.

President: “Career progression (...) we are pursuing a policy of “no one should be left behind”

Fact: This is perhaps the most hypocritical statement of all. For years we have denounced the harmful consequences of the New Career System such as rewarding quantity over quality, and penalising staff members on parental leave and maternity leave. Newcomers have been systematically discriminated against during the Reward Exercise. Older colleagues have been put under extreme production pressure. In the meantime, patent quality has degraded dramatically, as has the reputation of the Office. An authoritarian management style blocks innovation and open discussion. Many colleagues are frustrated and demotivated. On his first day in the Office Staff Representation presented the new President with proposals for a new, fairer career system. After 15 months nothing has changed.

The growth in granted patents is accompanied by a drop in patent quality. Number of granted patents per year (blue) and quality of granted patents according to DQA (red).

President: “I personally don’t believe that we’re at the stage of last resort (...) strikes.”

Fact: Unsustainable production pressure. Falling patent quality. Outrageous legal fights. An increasingly arbitrary career system. Five-year contracts. Threats and pressure. Although it is true that the communication-style of management has become gentler and seemingly more understanding, this is merely marketing. Indeed, only the marketing has changed. The new President, after 18 months in the Office, remains surrounded by mostly the same faces as the old President. The autocratic management-style of President Battistelli clings on. And yet there is so much potential at the EPO. So many clever and highly-trained professionals eager to innovate, to involve themselves, to discuss, to try new things and produce the best patents with the highest quality. This potential just has to be unleashed. We are ready for real change! What are you still waiting for, Mr President?

SUEPO Munich

Things have only gotten worse since then. Where's the media coverage? Where's the journalism on these matters? The bribed operatives from IAM tell us that EPO "quality" is top-notch while bagging EPO money from the EPO's PR agency, FTI Consulting. Shouldn't the media be covering the bribery of the media? Maybe not, the media does not wish to discredit itself; the EPO is meanwhile hiring more people to manipulate the media.

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