Members of the SUEPO trade union at the European Patent Office (EPO) have voted for industrial action, including a “work to rule”, “go slow” and a strike on 22 March. The union is calling for the restoration of fundamental rights at the EPO and the suspension or reversal of major reforms that have been detrimental to working conditions and wellbeing of staff. There have been longstanding problems with asserting trade union rights at the EPO with a former director intervening in the trade union’s internal affairs and blocking the right to strike. The International Labour Organisation has ruled in the union’s favour on the exercise of fundamental rights and the union’s action will also seek improvements in relation to careers, pay and training.
Patent office workers plan industrial action
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(November 2016) Employees at the European Patent Office (EPO) in The Hague organised a march on 24 November in protest against further anti-union action by the EPO's President Benoit Battistelli. The staff union SUEPO organised a protest against Battistelli early in 2016 after he sacked union representatives and the latest incident involves the dismissal of Laurent Prunier, elected member of the Central Staff Committee and Secretary of SUEPO. The union received the support of the Dutch confederation FNV and the matter will also be discussed in the Dutch parliament.
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