(May 2017) The long-running conflict at the European Patent Office (EPO) over abuses of worker and trade union rights is now heading to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). SUEPO, the trade union at the EPO has filed a complaint against the Netherlands for failing to protect workers. The courts there ruled that Dutch law has no jurisdiction leaving the workers in a legal limbo. The workers have been supported by the FNV trade union and the matter has been taken up in the Dutch parliament.
Patent office conflict heads to court of human rights
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The SUEPO trade union, representing staff at the European Patent Office (EPO), says that it will take strike action in June unless management responds to a series of key demands on fair pay and fair treatment of workers. There had been a very difficult industrial relations climate at EPO for some time but with the appointment of a new president last year there was some hope for an improvement. However, a recent staff survey reveals continuing problems and more or less a continuation of the hardline management of the old regime. A ballot for strike action will have to take place by the middle
There has been some improvement in industrial relations at the European Patent Office (EPO). As we reported in 2016 (November epsucob@NEWS 15) there had been considerable conflict in the organisation with several trade union representatives dismissed and who took up cases through the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The chair of the EPO union in Munich, Ion Brumme resumed his job in the middle of August, two and a half years after his dismissal. Both he and another colleague were cleared by an ILO tribunal. Brumme has urged the new EPO president to restore relations with the SUEPO