23 April 2015
At a round table meeting jointly initiated by the Chairman of the Administrative Council, Jesper Kongstad, and EPO President Benoît Battistelli, the SUEPO and FFPE entered into a process which could eventually lead to their formal recognition as trade unions at the Office for the first time in EPO history. The meeting’s aim was to re-launch social dialogue to overcome disputes that have arisen over the inner reform agenda of the EPO.
All parties agreed to continue the process and create a working group to discuss further details already in the coming days. The next round table meeting has been scheduled for 28 May 2015 with the intention to review the findings of the working group, and to consider next steps.
“It wasn’t an easy meeting, but sitting at one table has been an important first move and marked the beginning of a constructive process”, said Kongstad. “We are pleased that the meeting took place in an open atmosphere, and that agreement could be reached that social dialogue is in the best interest of the EPO”, President Battistelli explained.
The EPO is an international organisation established by an international treaty ratified by its 38 member states which creates a legal framework for the Office compliant with the best international standards and practices. That framework is not governed by the provisions of the national laws of the member states, including those where the EPO has offices. As the treaty does not hold provisions on trade unions, the effort to recognise them is a new initiative leading well beyond the currently existing legal framework of the EPO.