An estimated 2,700 employees – 40 per cent of all staff – at the European Patent Office went on strike Thursday, representing a significant challenge to EPO president Benoît Battistelli.
The strike decision passed last month with a 91 per cent approval rate. It was called to protest the EPO management's treatment of staff union representatives, who remain under disciplinary proceedings despite the EPO's administrative council formally criticizing the process and asking for an independent arbitrator.
The union representatives opposed a number of reforms imposed by Battistelli in recent years, including several that would be illegal in the European countries in which the EPO operates.
The strike is just the latest in a heated fight between staff and EPO management: a fight that the administrative council has given Battistelli until its next meeting in June to start resolving. Last month, Battistelli received a zero per cent confidence rating in a staff survey. ®