“There is a fundamental difference in approach between Unions and Management. Management takes decisions based on short term gains, whereas Unions think in the long term.”
In June 2018 the Administrative Council (AC) elected Mr. A. Campiños as the new president of the EPO, with a mandate to establish and foster social dialogue. Today, after four years, the climate of fear of the previous presidency has given way to a climate of disengagement and disillusion, as a recent Technologia Staff survey has shown. Despite some initial optimism, Mr. Campiños has failed so far to fulfil the mandate the AC gave to him. Social dialogue with the Staff representation seems like a tick all the boxes exercise, and social dialogue with SUEPO is almost non-existent. There has been no meeting, in person or by videoconference, between SUEPO and Mr. Campiños, for more than a year.
The reforms introduced by the previous administration, like the New Career System and the New Employment Framework are still in place. Some more reforms were pushed through during the last four years, like the new Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) , while SUEPO and the SR were impeded from operating properly due to the limitations introduced by the former presidency. Moreover, it took an ILOAT judgment (J 4430) and 8 years, 3 of which under the present presidency, to remove the limitations to the fundamental right to strike. Similarly, concerning the removal of the limitations on the freedom of association (J 4482) it took more than 8 years, 3 and a half of which under the present presidency. The last ILOAT judgment (J 4551) concerning the removal of the limitations on the number of emails addressees had not been implemented at the time of writing (19 September 2022). It has been more than 9 years since the email limitation was introduced. This is not worthy of an International Organisation like the EPO, the second largest European Organisation by number of employees after the EU Commission.
The history of SUEPO is intrinsically linked to the history of EPO. Since its creation it has always acted tirelessly to attain the objectives stated in its Constitution, i.e., to defend the rights of the Staff and to safeguard the proper functioning of the EPO. Even in the worst moments, its leaders have fought hard to defend these principles, sometimes at a very high cost for themselves. SUEPO has been and continues to be a major actor in shaping the present and the future of the EPO.
Mr. Campiños has just been re-elected for a second mandate of five years, starting in July 2023. I wish him well, but if he wants to succeed in his endeavour, he will have to commit to proper social dialogue with SUEPO and the Staff Representation.
Member of the USF Federal Bureau
Secretary of SUEPO-TH