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3 April 2017 - IPSO President calls for delivery on EU values at a union conference

IPSO participated in the seminar of the CGIL and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung on 3 Aril 2017. Find here the speech of Johannes Priesemann, speaking for IPSO on the topic "Seeking Europe? After the crisis? Seeking orientation in our constitution for our policies and actions". He calls for orientation of policies and actions on the values of the EU as laid down in Article 2 of the EU Treaty: rule of law, equality, solidarity. He flags the risks that go with the ECB's double role as employer and law-maker in its own labour law and the poor judicial control of staff's rights in European and International institutions and bodies, pointing to the scandalous situation at the European Patent Office where staff representatives have been fired. European politics and union action must deliver on the EU values.


 Letter of IPSO to Chancellor Merkel and Minister Maas - German
 Letter to German Chancellor Merkel and Minister Maas - English
 Seeking Europe? After the crisis? Seeking orientation in our constitution for our policies and actions - Speech of 3 April 2017



27 February 2017: IPSO asks Chancellor Merkel and Minister Maas to intervene at the EPO

IPSO has written to German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Minister Heiko Maas to exert their influence in the governance bodies of the European Patent Office with a view to end the unacceptable treatment of staff representatives at the EPO. IPSO cannot accept the firing of elected staff representatives. Please find here below the original letter in German and its English translation.


11 December 2016: IPSO expresses support for colleagues at the European Patent Office Office, with Heardquarter in Munich

Like many international organisations, the European Patent Office (EPO) has been given full autonomy to determine the legislative framework applicable to its staff. This creates a situation of high concentration of power, leading to risks of abuses.
Since the arrival of Mr. Battistelli at the helm of the organisation, the level of tensions within the EPO has met unprecedented levels. The matter has been widely reported in the media (SZ, FAZ, die Welt, Le Monde, Médiapart, Libération, De Volkskrant, NRC, El Mundo etc, see also a reportage broadcast by BR on 21 March 2016).

A good overview of the toxic atmosphere has been published by Politico in August 2015.
Unfortunately, since then the situation has deteriorated further. IPSO is deeply saddened to learn that Mr Battistelli dismissed two union officials and elected staff representatives based in Munich, In January 2016. A third one was dismissed on 4th November, in The Hague without a fair trial. Two more union officials and staff representatives are currently being targeted.
To try and de-escalate, the Administrative Council of the EPO adopted resolution CA/26/16 in March 2016, requesting Mr Battistelli to revise the applicable rules to ensure that justice be done and seen to be done. The Council required that, in the meantime, no further investigations or disciplinary proceedings be carried out against staff representatives and union officials. We are informed that Mr Battistelli unfortunatley ignored the resolution, thereby reinforcing the impression that the President of the EPO can act with full impunity.

As representatives of the trade union of ECB Staff, we would like to express our solidarity and support to our colleagues dismissed by Mr. Batistelli. We are not willing to accept the situation as it stands, and are currently considering further action to support our dismissed colleagues with the objective to reinstate them in their function at the EPO.


18 November 2016: European Court of Auditors’ special report on the SSM validates IPSO’s claim of ECB understaffing of 27 March 2015

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) issued a special report on the new EU banking supervisory system.

In its press release the ECA states:

“This was the ECA’s first audit of the ECB’s operational efficiency with respect to the SSM, and the audit findings are mixed, say the auditors. They found that in setting up the SSM the ECB has not analysed supervisory staffing needs in the necessary detail, and that current staffing levels are insufficient.”
IPSO’s alerts to the ECB’s decision making bodies on ECB workload culminated in an open letter on 27 March 2015.



26 October 2016: European Parliament’s ECON Committee organises hearing on European Central Bank governance and staffing issues

Upon IPSO´s initiative, the ECON Committee of the European Parliament organized a hearing on HR matters at the European Central Bank (ECB) which took place on 26 October 2016. See here the video of the hearing on the European Parliament’s website.

The hearing was split in two separate sessions, one with ECB management, represented by the ECB’s Chief Services Officer Michael Diemer and the Director General of the ECB’s HR function Anne-Sylvie Catherin and another one with staff and union representatives Carlos Bowles (Staff Committee) and Johannes Priesemann (IPSO).

Staff and Union Representatives insisted on the constitutional anomaly that the ECB acts as the employer and legislator at the same time. They flagged the resulting large imbalance of powers at the European Central Bank and the excessive interpretation of independence. They flagged operational risks deriving from the precarious contracts, the role of personal ties in appointments and promotions and excessive workload. They called for intensified parliamentary scrutiny, full transparency of the law-making materials in ECB’s own labour law setting and the adoption of good practices as regards staff participation in decision-making (see the introductory statements attached from Johannes Priesemann and Carlos Bowles) and requested the recruitment of long-serving temporary agency staff rather than the outsourcing of the work to external service providers.
Parliamentarians, on their part, questioned the ECB managers about the ECB’s decision to adopt the staff rules different to those of other EU institutions, the lack of staff participation mechanisms for the ECB as a European Institution, the generalized use of temporary contracts for permanent tasks, and the ECB´s cherry-picking application of the German legislation regarding the use of temporary agency staff. Staff and Union Representatives, and in their view also the members of Parliament, so far, were not convinced by the ECB’s answers to these questions.
The MEPs present agreed on the need to follow up on these issues and are working on a possible way forward to intensify the European Parliaments scrutiny in these matters.

The ECB Representatives’ presentation can be seen in the video linked above.

 2016-10-26 (IPSO to ECON) Intervention IPSO for ECON hearing - JPR speaking notes
 2016-10-26 (CB to ECON) EP hearing - CB speaking notes



14 July 2016: IPSO organises a solidarity action for long-serving termporary agency staff at the ECB

Breaking News, Burning issues

ECB staff calls for sound staffing and equal pay at the ECB

Today, 14 July 2016, upon a call of IPSO, the International and European Public Services Organisation, c. 120 staff of and persons working for the European Central Bank (ECB) gathered for a solidarity action for equal pay and sound staffing at the ECB. IPSO, the union representing the interests of persons working for the ECB, organized the event in support of c. 200-250 temporary agency workers at the ECB. These persons face an uncertain professional future after long-time assignments to the ECB. The action aimed to support the union in talks with the ECB on agency work at the ECB. The ECB’s management has for the last 10-15 years relied on temporary agency staff for permanent tasks. This was due to an understaffing of the ECB for which the Governing Council, the ECB’s top-decision-making body was and is responsible.

The practice of (ab-)using one and the same temporary agency staff member for a permanent task is now coming to an end due to the foreseen changes to the German law governing temporary agency work. As a result, long-serving temporary agents at the ECB may face the risk of unemployment. IPSO and the staff request that the colleagues on permanent jobs are taken on the ECB payroll and not sent back to their temporary work agencies where they may face unemployment. Johannes Priesemann, President of IPSO, said: “The use of agency staff is not proper for a European institution. The long-serving colleagues need to be taken on board and be compensated for unequal pay by the ECB.”

IPSO also claims that the draft German law on temporary agency is not in line with the EU Directive on temporary agency work. The proposal to allow the assignment of temporary agency workers to permanent tasks on a revolving basis for 9-months assignments with unequal pay infringes the Directive and the principle of European law that indefinite labour contracts are the European standard. The action aimed to support the union in the informal talks with the ECB on agency work at the ECB and to support the union’s claims.


27 March 2015: IPSO released an Open Letter to the NCBs on the staffing situation at the ECB

IPSO, the sole trade union recognised at the ECB, has sent an open letter to the National Central Bank governors of the Eurosystem requesting a rectification of the staffing situation at the ECB. 1,000 permanent full time positions should be established to bring the ECB workforce to sound and orderly contracts and offer as many as possible colleagues of the "informal workforce" the chance to get an orderly contract and work perspective. IPSO sees a severe and structural conflict of interest at the highest level of the Eurosystem as the root cause of the deplorable staffing situation. IPSO encourages the governors to address the situation and to respect the spirit of the commitments taken by the European governments when they decided to create the euro.

See also international press echoes, linked from "IPSO in the media"

 2015.03.27 Open Letter to the NCB Governors - English version
 2015.03.27 Open Letter to the NCB Governors - German version
 2015.03.27 Open Letter to the NCB Governors - French version
 2015.03.27 Open Letter to the NCB Governors - Italian version