The European Patent Office’s (EPO) Central Staff Committee (CSC) has issued a rebuttal to Elodie Bergot, principal director of Human Resources at the office, over a controversial CSC publication which criticised the office for alleged misconduct.
Bergot halted the publication of the CSC’s article, which took aim at recent employment proposals pushed at the office, and asked whether current EPO president, Benoît Battistelli, was attempting to rush through the “harmful reform” before the end of his tenure.
In a letter to CSC chairman Joachim Michels, Bergot suggested that the CSC should “review the content of the proposed publication and delete or modify the parts that are offensive to individuals”.
Responding to Bergot’s request, the CSC said it was “at a loss” over Bergot’s criticisms of anonymous reports allegedly circulated by staff representatives regarding the working group on modernisation of the employment framework, which Bergot argued would “generate suspicion and unjustified quiet”.
The committee asked: “Would you refuse one publication describing the status quo because the prospect of a future reform causes some (in our view justified) unrest?”
It added: “Our criticisms are legitimate in that we have been elected by staff to represent their interests even if, at times, they do not exactly match the conceptions of management. Recent general assemblies reassure us in that course of action.”
The CSC also took aim at Bergot’s request to “abstain from spreading this communication further”.
It said: “We feel obliged here to remind you that freedom of communication is part and parcel of freedom of speech.”
The committee asked that the paper is allowed to be published on the CSC’s intranet. If the request is again denied, it said it would like a written decision.