SUEPO, a union in the patent world
SUEPO stands for Staff Union of the European Patent Office (EPO). The EPO has sites in Berlin, Munich, The Hague and Vienna. Likewise, SUEPO is made up of four local sections at the four sites. Approximately 50% of the staff of the respective sites are members.
Because SUEPO effectively has four working languages (English, French, German and Dutch in The Hague) it also has French (Union Syndicale de l’Office Européen des Brevets -USOEB) and German (Internationale Gewerkschaft im Europäischen Patentamt – IGEPA) names. All employees of the EPO are free to become members of SUEPO, since the fundamental right of “freedom of association” is guaranteed by the EPO-Codex for every employee.
Just as the EPO evolved from the Institut International des Brevets (IIB), SUEPO was born in 1979 out of the Syndicat du Personnel de l’Institut International des Brevets (SP-IIB) which was founded in 1969.
We represent staff interests
In the first instance, SUEPO represents the interests of its members.
SUEPO takes particular care to maintain acceptable working conditions for the Staff of the European Patent Office. This concerns not only remuneration, but also a wide range of everyday aspects of working conditions at the EPO, such as working time, working pressure and ergonomics.
Unlike Labour Law in national civil services, the rules dictating employment conditions and rights at the EPO are determined by the Office’s Administrative Council, a group of national representatives who oversee the running of the Office. These rules and rights in turn are set down in an internal Codex. The result is that a wide range of aspects of labour law normally regulated by national parliaments is determined by an organ with only limited accountability, be it only because of the fact that the supervision of the functioning of the Administrative Council is the responsibility of the parliaments of the Contracting States.
The result is that the Staff Union of the EPO is involved with issues which go beyond the scope of activities that are normally the work of Staff Unions at a national level.
The Staff Union of the European Patent Office is affiliated to the Union Syndicale Fédérale, which is a federation of staff unions which are active in institutions of the European Union as well as in other European and international organisations.
We also represent the public interest
Why?, you may ask. There are a number of reasons:
Public interest is our interest. The keyword is innovation. Innovation is the driving force behind the European economy and provides employment for our members. We are in the best position to do it. Patenting is a complex issue and citizens must be better informed of the functioning and the relevance of patents.
SUEPO / VEOB The Hague
Chairman: Mr. Dirk Dobbelaere
2288 GM Rijswijk ZH
Telefon: +31 (0) 70 412 9391
Victories : Union Syndicale on all fronts!
An avalanche of victories for Union Syndicale and its representatives! The current period is full of equations with many unknowns, but one thing is certain: solidarity is still not an obsolete concept in the European institutions. Our colleagues at SUEPO The Hague and in Berlin won a great victory in the Staff Committee elections: all the seats (17 !) went to our Union Syndicale representatives! Never two without three, a resounding victory for Union Syndicale at Cedefop (3 seats out of 3 in the Staff Committee elections !), which, we remind you, did not actually recognise the unions as social [...]
Congress Emergency Resolution on EPO
The Member Organisations of Union Syndicale Fédérale, gathered in Congress in Bratislava, adopted on 2 June 2019 an emergency resolution on the situation of EPO staff and the unfair treatment of SUEPO trade unionists. Adopted unanimously, this emergency resolution was forwarded to the Director and the Governing Board of the EPO as soon as the Congress closed. Excerpt: Considering that EPO has been heavily criticized in the media for its anti-staff and authoritarian policies since 2014; that Staff representatives and SUEPO Committee members have been unfairly sanctioned and/or dismissed in the last 5 years; that the lack of respect for [...]
USF warns EPO on results of internal survey
With a letter dated 29th January 2019, USF warns Mr Campinos' (EPO director) about the negative perception of the abusive - and for several of them still unresolved - disciplinary cases against staff or union representatives at the EPO and the personal suffering the situation still entails. In the meantime, a survey has been run at the EPO which seems to reveal/shows very worrying results calling for an analysis to be run jointly by the EPO President and the EPO staff representation / SUEPO. Download here the Letter in which USF warns the EPO director, Mr Campinos about the abusive [...]
EPO: USF asks for amnesty
In French only ! L'union Syndicale Fédérale a parfaitement conscience des difficultés sérieuses crées à l'OEB dans de nombreux domaines d'activité par votre prédécesseur ... USF - EPO - Amnesty letter