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Meeting between U4U and the EUIPO: the continuation of the cooperation

Joint press release

On 28 November, the Executive Director of the Office welcomed Mr Georges Vlandas, President of the Union for Unity (U4U) – the European and civic trade union for all staff of the institutions, Ms Annabelle Menéndez Vallina, U4U coordinator, and Mr Gregor Schneider, U4U Vice-President and President of the AASC network (Assembly of Agency Staff Committees), for a first meeting to exchange views on staff policy at the EUIPO and the objectives of the EU institutions and agencies, in particular as regards the management of human and budgetary resources.

Over the past years, the Office has established regular exchanges with U4U via a memorandum of understanding that was signed in 2016. These exchanges provide a beneficial complement to the regular social dialogue maintained with the Staff Committee of the Office.

In the course of the fruitful exchange, U4U commended the achievements of the Office to date and expressed their wish to build a solid rapport, based on sharing of knowledge and experience, based also on the trust that social dialogue and discussing different positions will always increase the quality of administration.

The ED also shared his willingness to establish a constructive dialogue and informed U4U of the open consultation for the new Strategic plan and his readiness to hold a candid conversation on the different pillars of the staff policy once the possibilities are identified.

Several topics were discussed in this context with both parties agreeing on the importance of a flexible, diverse and modern staff policy with a view to attracting and retaining talent, notably with regards to younger generations.

In conclusion, both the ED and U4U agreed upon their mutual interest in establishing a collaborative future relation, respecting the roles of each party, in the best interest of the Office and it’s staff. 

The social situation at the European Patent Office has been frankly disastrous for several years.

U4U has questioned the Commission about its responsibility in this situation, without any response to date (22/02/2016). It is intolerable that the EU, with its democratic values, can accept at the EPO, as in other bodies even more directly under its responsibility, practices directly contrary to the most elementary rights of workers.

Is the EPO a lawless zone?

Organizations that have impunity and act outside international (ILO), Community (EU) and national legal frameworks… and sit on a court conviction. All this with the passivity of the Commission and the complicity of democratic Member States. A drift that must be denounced.


Message from P. Cordery (Feb 2016): A black day at the European Patent Office (EPO)

The anti-social management of the EPO, led by its president Mr. Batistelli, has reached new heights today. Unprecedented sanctions have been imposed on three staff representatives: the president of Suepo Munich has been dismissed, with a 20% reduction in her pension entitlement as a bonus; the former president of the same organization has been dismissed; and its treasurer has been demoted by 8 steps, the equivalent of losing 15 years’ work. The reason? For having deigned to publicly represent their colleagues in an attempt to defend their rights.

These authoritarian and arbitrary decisions are outrageous. The most elementary rights of employees, in force in every country in Europe, are being trampled underfoot at the EPO without any national or international jurisdiction being able to take action. Immunity is not synonymous with impunity.

For too many years, the social situation of this organization has been deteriorating. Enough is enough. All member states must act, and quickly, following the example of France, which has repeatedly called for a social audit. I have again asked the government to do so. We urgently need to put an end to arbitrariness and revitalize this organization, which is so important for Europe as a whole.

I would like to assure all our staff, and their representatives in particular, of my full support. We remain vigilant and will do everything in our power to ensure that democracy and justice regain their rights within the Office.

On January 27, I was in The Hague to lend my support and solidarity to the employees of the European Patent Office, who have been subjected for too long to authoritarian and arbitrary management. The previous week, two staff representatives had been dismissed. This must stop. Immunity does not mean impunity.