The SUEPO trade union has called for a strike in all EPO sites around the next Administrative Council’s meeting in June.

‘Almost one year after the arrival as Mr. Campinos as President of the EPO, we note with regret that the social situation hasn’t improved and that none of the root causes of the many issues that trouble our organisation have been addressed. The Battistelli administration and its anti-staff policies are still in place. The situation in the office is more toxic than ever, as also shown by the recent disastrous staff survey results and the worsening of staff health. There are many reasons for discontent’, the SUEPO wrote to president Campinos last week.

The SUEPO declared it wants:
‘1. Fair settlement for all SUEPO Officials/Staff Representatives abusively sanctioned by the Battistelli administration;
2. Fair reporting, instead of artificially underrating hundreds of colleagues with “(far) below expectations”;
3. Respect for staff instead of threats of incompetence procedures;
4. Fair career progression for everyone, no managerial arbitrariness;
5. People-oriented management, instead of management by fear;
6. Fair assessment of the EPO financial situation, no pension reform based on a heavily biased study;
7. Fair salary and pension adjustment for the coming years, no erosion of purchasing power.’

The call for a strike is the first since president António Campinos took office in July 2018. Over the last half year, it had already become abundantly clear that Campinos has not been able or willing to take action and change the dreadful social climate at the EPO, a legacy of former EPO president Benoit Battistelli.

To its members, SUEPO wrote ‘it seems now clear that our new President does not intend to fix the problems created by his predecessor. Worse still, Mr Campinos intends to continue the catastrophic Battistelli’s HR policies. We have already seen the implementation of 5-year contracts policy for all newcomers, a worst-ever reporting round and no fundamental change to the career system. The latest Financial Study is designed to make the EPO look poor and points at further reducing staff’s benefits (salaries, pensions, allowances, …) in order to cope with this “misfortune”. . . (…)

The EPO staff survey mentioned earlier (and reported about on this blog) showed four in ten staff members say they face substantial obstacles to doing their job well. They have a very negative view of management effectiveness, with low confidence in senior management decisions. Only 39 percent feel they are treated with respect.

In the meantime, the president of the Federation of International Civil Servants’ Associations (FICSA), which represents the interests of more than 20.000 staff in the international civil service, wrote to Campinos yesterday as well, expressing ‘grave concern about the apparent lack of meaningful progress in the social dialogue at the EPO as reported to FICSA.’

Under EPO regulations, organising a strike can take more than a month. The SUEPO wants the strike to take place around the next meeting of the Administrative Council on 26 and 27 June 2019. The strike action is subject to a staff ballot, which has to be organised by the administration before 16 June.


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  1. Mr. Campinos sets a new record with his arrogant style, dilettante fashion and worrying lack of genuine work and concrete action. Less than a year after he took office, he who was presented as the king of social dialogue, you bet he is indeed!

    All this is also the sad result of the work of his preferred advisers’, the duo Bergot-Requena.

    Surely the famous “french touch” found on :

    All this is utterly depressing. This unsolved social crisis obviously impacts on the functioning of the EPO to the detriment of the users and the public. The quality of the work delivered is plummeting since management by fear and pressure coupled to wrong incentives creates a deleterious work environment.

    Also illustrative of the unhealthy practices at the EPO under the current administration :

    during the recent Budget and Finance Committee in Munich Mr Campinos is said to have tried and fortunately blatantly failed, to obtain no less than 600 (!) Mio EUR ( some delegations actually reported of 1 billion EUR, a “mere” 400 Mio difference but hey : so what? ) for “imperative” building works office-wide which no one, except Campinos and the duo Requena-Bergot probably, consider imperative.

    Fortunately for once the delegations were awake: indeed 16 voted to modify the agenda point from “for vote” to “for information”, further 19 abstained. 35 out of 39 delegations thus refused to follow Campinos blindly. This is no surprise since Campinos took them for nothing but fools (they were provided with a very thin rationale to support the need for such an enormous amount of applicants’ money, they had only a few weeks to make up their minds and no time to ask questions).

    To paraphrase his own words, from his recent distasteful communiqué on EPO’s intranet :

    – Would Mr Campinos not be a little “excessive” on this one ?
    – Is that how Mr Campinos concretely acts when it comes to handle “taxpayers’ money” with “due diligence, due process and careful legal assessment” ?

    As Americans put it : follow the money.


  2. One reads this post and cannot believe that this is what the EPO has become.

    In less than a decade, a bunch of managers have succeeded in annihilating one of the few (the only?) European organizations governed by engineers and scientists who actually knew what they were doing.

  3. The manner in which the EPO’s future financial status has been reported worrys me greatly.

    It is self-evidently not the case that the EPO is in any danger of going in to the red. If it were, then would it really have decided to massively increase the risk level with regard to the investments that it makes with a substantial portion of its enormous cash reserves? After all, if you cannot afford to lose, then you do not take unnecessary risks!

    So, given that the projected deficit is nothing more than a fantasy, one has to ask why on earth would the EPO’s management want to try to sell that fantasy? Whilst I do not know the real reason for this, it is clear that it cannot be anything good … hence my concern about what on earth the EPO’s management could be planning.

  4. The EPO is not the playground of would be managers!

    It is frustrating to see how it is pulled down by a group of people not having a clue what the work of an examiner is, or having willingly forgotten it, as soon as they have been appointed to « management » functions

    As long as the famous duo put in place by the Napoleon of the 10th floor will be in place, social dialogue will just be an empty shell.

    One wonders which skeletons are in the cupboard that the new head of the EPO does maintain those people in place.

    Rather than seeking extensions all around the world, it might be more effective to clear the Augias stable left as legacy.

    Techrights FINGERS OFF!!!

  5. The people you meet as an outsider, that they work for the EPO: No tax, private healthcare, private schools paid … who has that here in Munich? An average Fench family has 3 kids. No tax. Private medical care and schooling all paid for for 5 people!!! A friend that works there recently took 5 weeks off for personal stuff. Maternity extension to 16 months and now has an option to work part-time. I am sorry. You are all complaining, because your boss is an asshole? Just pathethic. And degrading to people who pay tax and live without any of your stupid benefits.

    1. Krona,

      A standard argument from EPO management too – you are well rewarded so you have no rights and can be treated as we like. Perhaps, Krona, you can indicate at what level legal rights no longer exist? Is illegal sacking not illegal because you used to be well rewarded? And, if so, does that apply after one month, one year, 10 years?

      Whstaboutery avoids the facts.

    2. I fail to see the relevance of your post vs. the article above but you may express your opinion of course.

      For your information, if EPO staff (or staff of international organisations in general) pay no tax on revenues locally it is because an internal tax exists (which is levied directly on their earnings) and also to not give additional benefits to the host countries of the organisation. Indeed where an EPO branch was established (or any other IO) tons of money was spent on buildings (estimated for Munich: one billion euro for the buildings alone), on maintenance, in the local economy etc. vs the other member states of the organisation who do not get any of this.

      Further, it is estimated that for one EPO staff, between 2 and 3 jobs are created locally (perhaps you hold even one of such job created thanks to the EPO (or an IO) spendings locally) so if you are concerned by wealth creation you should appreciate that IOs exist since they benefit to the society.

      You sound a little envious of the EPO working conditions but do yourself a favour and apply! provided you have the level to qualify for a job there (e.g. you dispose upon a high level of education and you are multilingual): the EPO has problems to attract suitable candidates and you will see the working atmosphere is really great

    3. Dear Krona, the EPO was capable to recruit the very best scientists and engineers from all over Europe as examiners because they were offering good conditions. Now that these are gone, all best examiners are leaving in mass.
      My advice for you is therefore to apply right now: there are plenty of openings these days and even you can get a job in this heaven on hearth. Just work a little on your English and learn French (yes, that’s not written ‘Fench’) and German. And get a PhD as well, it might help.

  6. Dear Krona,

    You have won with bravery your membership in the league of those who missed an opportunity to keep quiet.

    I will not deny that your comment goes along the same line as the very biased article below here:

    When people hire at the EPO, they give up all national social protection, be it in the form of medical care and pension scheme, to enter a system where they are at the whim of pseudo managers who consider the EPO as their private property.

    When an adverse decision is taken against any staff member, they have no real means of redress but to go to the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO, which is not a real tribunal but merely checks that the procedure has been correctly applied, but will never say that the procedure is bad!

    In Munich there are two football teams, and nobody sound in their mind would consider that the level of pay should be the same. The EPO and the DPMA play in a different league, like the FCB and 1860. But the players of FCB have no reason to protest, contrary to staff members of the EPO.

    By the way, I would nowadays advise job seekers to rather go to the DPMA than to the EPO. The working conditions have degraded so much, that one cannot advise anybody to seek employment at the latter since the conditions have degraded to such an extent that they are not worth taking the risk discussed above. The present management of the EPO has reached such a level of incompetence that it would be foolish to join.

    That those having hired there in the past do not want to see a further degradation of their situation is fully understandable.

    If you think you bring in the competences and knowledge required, then apply as has been suggested above. In the contrary keep your rant to yourself.

    Techrights FINGERS OFF!!!

  7. It seems that Märpel may have identified an explanation for the EPO’s management seemingly inexplicable attempt to sell the fantasy that the EPO’s finances are in a precarious position.

    This is no joke. Do applicants really want the EPO to prioritise, above all else, cutting their internal costs for providing the services (examination and opposition) that are the very reason for the EPO’s existence? Avoiding waste is one thing. However, there comes a point where cutting costs has an inevitable, detrimental impact upon service level.

    Given the many complaints about the downward trend in the quality of examination at the EPO (including on this blog), I would have thought that the EPO’s management would by now have got the message that applicants do NOT support any drift towards a “cheap and cheerful” approach to examination. This therefore raises another question: why on earth would the EPO’s management be pursuing an approach that is not supported by applicants?

    Whilst I can only speculate, one possibility is that it has something to do with the remuneration for those managers who can demonstrate that they have made a significant “saving” for the EPO. If this is actually what is happening, it would suggest that we can now expect intense competition for the top management jobs at the EPO … from candidates motivated solely by the possibilities for self-enrichment (at the expense of applicants and less senior EPO staff).

    It would be wonderful if it could be proven that such speculation is wide of the mark, and that something far less sinister is going on. We shall just have to wait and see whether any such proof emerges … though I will not hold my breath waiting for it.

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