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EPO and trade union sign landmark deal

2 March 2016

From left to right: Raimund Lutz, EPO Vice-President DG 5; Aldert De Haan, Vice-Chair FFPE; Alberto Casado, EPO Vice-President DG 2, Simon Coates, President FFPE European Council; Željko Topić, EPO Vice-President DG 4; Benoît Battistelli, EPO President; Elodie Bergot, PD Human Resources EPO; John Parsons, Federal President FFPE Council of Europe; Samuel van der Bijl, FFPE-EPO Chair; Pierre-Philippe Bacri, President FFPE European Commission, Guillaume Minnoye, EPO Vice-President DG 1

The European Patent Office (EPO) has formally recognised the role of trade unions as social partners through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which was signed today with FFPE-EPO, a European civil service trade union.

After a year of discussions and preparations, an MoU has been offered for signature to all the trade unions at the EPO. It aims to improve social dialogue by creating a negotiation scheme relating to all social topics, complementing the consultation scheme which has existed since the EPO was first founded.

"The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding today is a milestone in a renewed social dialogue," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "By this recognition of trade unions as social partners, we are adding a negotiation scheme to our comprehensive process of consultation. We now look forward to signing the agreement with all unions. A meeting will take place with signatory unions in the coming weeks to define a common social agenda," he added.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by EPO President Benoît Battistelli and Samuel van der Bijl, FFPE-EPO Chair, and Vice-Chair Aldert de Haan, in the presence of FFPE Federal Bureau representatives John Parsons (Federal President FFPE Council of Europe), Pierre-Philippe Bacri (President FFPE European Commission) and Simon Coates (President FFPE European Council).

FFPE is the first trade union to sign this MoU, which remains open to all trade unions represented at the EPO. The signing marks a breakthrough in a process that was initiated jointly by President Battistelli and the Administrative Council of the EPO in March 2015.

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