back to article Euro Patent Office staff warns board of internal rule changes

The central staff committee of the European Patent Office has sent a letter to the organization's board warning it of proposed changes that would further undermine their rights. The letter to the board of the EPO's Administrative Council comes one day before its preparatory meeting for the larger council meeting next month. …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Allow management to cut a staff member's retirement pension as a disciplinary measure.

    That is probably against the labor code for the location where this outfit resides. They should not be writing to the board, they should be taking him to the German Federal Labor court.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They claim (I believe) that the EPO is an international organisation and not required to adhere to the laws of any state.

      Which sounds like Battistelli is claiming the IPO to be a micronation

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Micronation

        As no law seams to apply, at least according to Battistelli, I wonder if the workers decided to beat the shit out of him they could use the same argument.

        Not that I condome violence, you see, just asking....

    2. Peter2 Silver badge

      El Reg has run a previous news article saying that he's won a court case saying that national laws don't apply to him. Therefore all such cases are going to the international labour organisation which has got jurisdiction, representing so much of their workload that it's effectively shut down the ILO and caused them to start attempting to get the issues sorted.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      That is probably against the labor code for the location where this outfit resides.

      I suspect it's against the rules in *any* jurisdiction.. (except maybe the US where corporate slavery seems to be the norm)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        except

        >I suspect it's against the rules in *any* jurisdiction.. (except maybe the US where corporate slavery seems to be the norm)

        Don't get me wrong plenty wrong in the US with corporate balance of power but as a knowledge worker who gets rather decent benefits over here I would rather the employer pay directly into a retirement account I control with a reasonable vest period than have to count on a far in the future pension when even some state governments go back on their word about funding them. If it isn't vested in a retirement account you control then its pie in the sky no matter what any one says and as this article shows. Just ask Greece. This way your employer can't touch what has vested and though they can pay less going forward you can always find another employer with your retirement fully intact dependent on no one other than yourself.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: except

            TL;DR version. Pensions are a sucker's bet especially if you in the generation right after the Boomers.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good to see a snout in the trough of public funds

    Take the taxpayers for every penny and treat the workforce as the scum they are.

    Bastardelli is truly one of the 1%

    1. DropBear
      Unhappy

      Re: Good to see a snout in the trough of public funds

      Just because the shackles that continue to bind the oarsmen to their benches are no longer tangible iron and the rhythmic drum beat does not sound like a drum any more it doesn't mean that anything at all has changed as far as the slave-driver with the whip is concerned. We're still nothing but cattle to our owners.

      1. Marshalltown

        Re: Good to see a snout in the trough of public funds

        "...Just because the shackles that continue to bind the oarsmen to their benches are no longer tangible iron and the rhythmic drum beat does not sound like a drum ..."

        A mistaken cliche, at least up to the Renaissance. The Romans for instance had the good sense to use free oarsmen who had something to stay alive for, and if necessary would free slaves for the job. The Greeks actually had professional oarsmen, some of whom had their special portable seats they carried with them from ship to ship. It helped prevent blisters

        But. technically, your modern wage slave is is still a "slave" even IF they are "paid." Or they are as long as the wage payer pays at rates so low that a worker can't save enough to be able too tell an abusive employer to p*** off and leave for another job. In the US, employers resent the idea of being responsible for things like healthcare for their employees (yes Walmart - you). After all why fight a civil war if the upshot is simply that you wind up being responsible for your workers anyway. Pay them "wages" and you should be able to send them off everyday without a single thought about things like food, shelter and medical, let alone education.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good to see a snout in the trough of public funds

      Bastardelli is truly one of the 1%

      There is an easy test for that. Does he play golf?

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Good to see a snout in the trough of public funds

        While I have little time for golf (waste of a good walk and all of that), living half of my time in Scotland, I can assure you that Play Golf != 1%

        1. ZenaB
          Happy

          Re: Good to see a snout in the trough of public funds

          I can assure you that Play Golf != 1%

          Sounds like something a 1%'er would say!

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    You can bet

    That when they finally get rid of him, that he will have a substantial golden handshake, a letter of thanks for all his hard work and will be able to look forward to a board position in some mega corp where he can show them how to abuse their staff better, rather than being fired and told to sod off.

  4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Just say no?

    I'm not usually a fan of industrial action, but if the staff are really that pissed off with Battistelli isn't it time to just walk out? If the whole EPO staff simply refused to come back to work until he is replaced what would happen? I suppose he could try to fire them all, maybe that would finally make the wimps in the administration committee do something?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Just say no?

      I'd imagine Battistelli has reduced productivity in the workforce to the point where a strike would not make much difference.

      I'm guessing he has some clandestine photos of the board members or something,

    2. James 51

      Re: Just say no?

      Given how creative they have been with the disiplinary actions that isn't as easy as it sounds. Plus with these kind of rules soon they'll not only be able to take away way but steal from peoples pensions too plus seize their stuff (although the article doesn't say what or for how long). Although it would be interesting to have that happen and the employee call the police to say their bosses have stolen it.

    3. Bakker

      Re: Just say no?

      He would make an example of some. He has already fired union reps, against the AC's instructions, so that if I strike I will effectively be getting a colleague who represents me the sack but not myself. You don't have to punish me to cause me to not strike

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    WTF?

    "seize private property" ?

    Woah there ! I get that Mr. B thinks he is above national laws, but there is no international law or framework that allows him to authorize seizure of personal property. The EPO is an administration, not a police force.

    Someone needs to take this guy down soon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "seize private property" ?

      Someone needs to take this guy down soon.

      Not a single government or multi-national body in Europe has the balls or energy to grab Bastardelli, and grind him to a metaphorical pulp.

      Quite amusing to see European "leaders" wanting to show how grown up and integrated their little sub-cotinent is, yet this sort of third world practice is happening on their doorstep, and by doing nothing they connive and approve.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: "seize private property" ?

        Yes. Luckily the UK doesn't have leaching "upper class" scum like that. Oh, wait..

        1. Marshalltown
          Black Helicopters

          Re: "seize private property" ?

          In the UK your "leaching upper class" is mainly entertainment. Britain always had the social advantage that much of its population were yeomanry rather than peasants. The Normans and later did their best to end that but still failed. The EU seems to think there is some advantage to a "nanny state" even if the nanny aspect is really limited and the PTB are "above the law." So, maybe there's a bright side to Brexit after all. Now, here in the US, if only we can find a bright side to Trump .... >:(

    2. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: "seize private property" ?

      I guess if you sign a contract saying you will allow your employer to come round and sniff around in your dirty laundry then they can. I can't see how they can retrofit such an intrusive feature to a contract. Of course though the easiest way to deal with this is to all get together and tell him where to stuff his new contract.... requires you all to stick together

      1. Bakker

        Re: "seize private property" ?

        Wrong. The contract we signed has been unilaterally changed. And as we don't like it, we appeal to him. Who refers it to himself for a second opinion. You can guess what happens. We appeal to the ILO and they say he has followed his rules (which he has set) so that's OK. The ILO is an admistrative tribunal - it only decides if the rules have been correctly applied. He gets the AC to change the rules by applying the correct procedure (usually) so that's ok.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "seize private property" ?

        "I guess if you sign a contract saying you will allow your employer to come round and sniff around in your dirty laundry then they can. "

        Actually, no, that can't happen. In most normal jurisdictions that would break human rights legislation and that trumps contract law every time. The EPO, however, seems to be in it's own jurisdictional bubble.

    3. Bakker

      Re: "seize private property" ?

      He can authorise his staff to seize property e.g. laptops and is entitled to ask/demand local authorities to assist, according to the seat agreement. You may wish to check WIPO Gurry and Swiss authorities for the application of thus.

      In any case, failure to comply with such a request from him would be a disciplinary offence on its own and thus liable to sanctions decided by guess who??

  6. PNGuinn
    Trollface

    United Nations? Invade? Sanctions?

    If this guy really thinks he is above all national law, and is in effect a sovereign state there are a few options open.

    1. Countries refusing to accept his organisations patent approvals from a given date and setting up their own individual / collective replacement. With a clear oversight.

    Yeah, I know - but it'd sling an awful lot at the fan of his making, maybe make his job too smelly to be worthwhile.

    2. Just arrest the guy and bring him before a national court in some J. Random Country? Anyone?

    3. Invade him at his HQ and bring him forcibly into local jurisdiction. (Might need to ask the US for help in this if Blighty won't play.)

    4. Ask the Ruskies.

    5. Go to the UN and ask for sanctions or a peacekeeping force, just to mock and shame him.

    6. Wait till the internal civil war starts and go to his help AFTER the lynching.

    I really do wish I could use the joke icon for this - but if Europe collectively can't deal swiftly and effectively with this what does it say about the stability of the whole kit and kaboodle?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: United Nations? Invade? Sanctions?

      "5. Go to the UN and ask for sanctions or a peacekeeping force, just to mock and shame him."

      Do you really think so ?

      This would presumably be the same UN under whose aegis Mr. Gurry is operating at the WIPO?

      "UN Agency Files Criminal Complaint Against Geneva Journalist"

      http://gentiumlaw.com/news/un-agency-files-criminal-complaint-geneva-journalist-bloomberg-wire/

      "WIPO, FAO, in unprecedented move, waive immunity to sue journalists for defamation"

      https://www.theelephant.info/media-analysis/2017/05/05/now-un-too-decides-media-is-the-enemy-wipo-fao-in-unprecedented-move-waive-immunity-to-sue-journalists-for-defamation/

      I can really see them being the front line to force "regime change" at the EPO ... NOT !!!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: United Nations? Invade? Sanctions?

      "1. Countries refusing to accept his organisations patent approvals from a given date and setting up their own individual / collective replacement. With a clear oversight."

      If all those countries could be persuaded to co-operate to that level, then all they'd need to do is sack him, since that's exactly the level of co-operation needed to do so.

  7. james 68
    Gimp

    Obligatory Trump mention.

    Replace the words "Batistelli" and "EPO" in this story with "Trump" and "America", the similarities are striking.

    Hell, it even works if you replace them with "Kim Jong un" and "North Korea", which I guess shows just how scarey the world has become.

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