IPSO support for EPO colleagues

11. December 2016 Press Info 0

IPSO expresses support for colleagues at the European Patent Office Office, with Heardquarter in Munich

Like many international organisations, the European Patent Office (EPO) has been given full autonomy to determine the legislative framework applicable to its staff. This creates a situation of high concentration of power, leading to risks of abuses.
Since the arrival of Mr. Battistelli at the helm of the organisation, the level of tensions within the EPO has met unprecedented levels. The matter has been widely reported in the media (SZ, FAZ, die Welt, Le Monde, Médiapart, Libération, De Volkskrant, NRC, El Mundo etc, see also a reportage broadcast by BR on 21 March 2016).

A good overview of the toxic atmosphere has been published by Politico in August 2015.
Unfortunately, since then the situation has deteriorated further. IPSO is deeply saddened to learn that Mr Battistelli dismissed two union officials and elected staff representatives based in Munich, In January 2016. A third one was dismissed on 4th November, in The Hague without a fair trial. Two more union officials and staff representatives are currently being targeted.
To try and de-escalate, the Administrative Council of the EPO adopted resolution CA/26/16 in March 2016, requesting Mr Battistelli to revise the applicable rules to ensure that justice be done and seen to be done. The Council required that, in the meantime, no further investigations or disciplinary proceedings be carried out against staff representatives and union officials. We are informed that Mr Battistelli unfortunatley ignored the resolution, thereby reinforcing the impression that the President of the EPO can act with full impunity.

As representatives of the trade union of ECB Staff, we would like to express our solidarity and support to our colleagues dismissed by Mr. Batistelli. We are not willing to accept the situation as it stands, and are currently considering further action to support our dismissed colleagues with the objective to reinstate them in their function at the EPO.