Extremely Petulant Oaf.
Just another failEUr!
Staff at the European Patent Office (EPO) have pleaded with the organization's Administrative Council for a third time to take action against its rampaging president. In an open letter sent to the 36 country representatives that make up the council, a group that calls itself the EPO-FLIER team walk through the wave of …
Despite reading about this issue on The Register numerous times, all very much negative of Benoit Battistelli, I can't actually remember hearing some clear examples of what these complaints entail. Is it firing people, cancelling leave, making people work extra hours, removing family friendly policies, etc? What's their actual beef with him?
Where to begin...
1. Staff elected representatives. The EPO decided a new system was better and organis ed it's own vote half way through the year, with different rules. The same people were elected basically but now they are under the direct control of the head of HR.
2. Three elected members have since been dismissed. Another has been demoted. We don't know why. It is a disciplinary offence to reveal why or even that you are subject to disciplinary proceedings. Others are rumoured to be also threatened.
3. The EPO recognises a union with about 50 members (out of ca. 6900 staff). The union of ca. 3000 members is not.
4. The staff must ask the EPO if it (the EPO) will agree to organise a strike ballot. The EPO has said no on occasions but the ballot is organised according to the EPO's rules - no communication to staff is allowed. The staff still voted overwhelmingly for a strike.
5. The Dutch High Court declared that the staff did not have the rights according to the UNHRC. The EPO declared immunity and ignored it (but also appealed - to a court it will ignore...).
6. The ILO-AT has just decided that the current appeals system at the EPO is not legal (since 2014). All decisions should be re- done as the EPO chose the staff representatives themselves. The EPO had demoted the two previous representatives for their attempt to have a fair syste.
... will I go on....
7. Staff are concerned that a suicide on-site could not be investigated by Dutch authorities (immunity!).
8. A member of the Boards of Appeal (a judge so to speak) has been suspended for 2 years (s/he is not allowed to say why but the top management have made particular negative statements to the press concerning the person which are not part of the case, it seems). Internal bodies have not supported the President's actions but the member is still suspended on reduced pay.
9. The Administrative Council have urged and "stressed" that the President should involve them or independent judges in disciplinary cases involving elected staff representatives. He has still dismissed one since that, without informing the AC in advance.
10. Public computers at the EPO were discovered to be being monitored by software, seemingly contrary to Bavarian law.
11. Staff's contracts of employment (and future pensions) have been unilaterally altered with no consultation.
12. In all disciplinary matters the committee recommends but the President decides irrespective. Under the committee formed by the EPO, judged deficient by the ILO, the proportion of successful appeals by staff has hit rock bottom.
I was going to look up what the problem actually was, until I got to your last paragraph:
"However, Battistelli's abrasive personality and his insistence that the solution to each set back is to give the presidency greater power has long since stopped serving the organization itself and has instead becomes a personal crusade that benefits no one".
Is this your personal opinion? Why have you put it in a news article? How do you expect anybody to take you seriously?
Not complete immunity - only immunity with regard to carrying out its tasks. That however is vague enough to cover any acts performed by the office e.g. its internal management of staff. In principle it must cooperate with national authorities but must give permission for them to enter the properties.
As far as I know The President has never been found guilty of any criminal offence. The case in NL concerns the EPO itself and this is being appealed. The court was not able to serve its judgement as the document bearers could not enter the EPO in person - a bit like the sanctity of embassies.
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