Mediation suggested to heal EPO relations

by – Staff at the European Patent Office (EPO) have suggested a mediation session to heal relations with the office’s president Benoît Battistelli.

In a letter sent to Battistelli, seen by WIPR, the office’s Central Staff Committee (CSC) said mediation is a “time-tested way to address and resolve entrenched conflict situations” and could lead to engagement from both parties.

News of the letter comes as more than 2,500 staff walked out yesterday, November 20, in what was the start of an intermittent strike that will be staged across five weeks.

Yesterday, WIPR reported that the CSC had said it was still open to negotiations which, if successful, could halt the strike.

In its letter it called for an “independent” mediator which could help to avoid any escalation of current conflicts.

“We are committed to a constructive social dialogue. We therefore respectfully request that the venue of mediation by an independent external mediator be explored,” the letter said.

The latest strike, which will increase by one day each week for five weeks, is the third time staff have taken action.

Workers are understood to be concerned about changes at the office, which include an alleged abolition of new staff investigation guidelines. They are calling for more freedom of communication for the unions and other staff members.

There are also concerns about changes to strike regulations, and alterations to starting salaries and career prospects.

The EPO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  ( Source : )