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MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN

THE EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE


AND
THE TRADE UNIONS AND STAFF ASSOCIATIONS
The European Patent Office (EPO), represented by the President of the Office
and

the following trade unions and staff associations


Union ......, represented by ....

Union ......, represented by ....

hereinafter referred to as Union (s)


having regard to Articles 30 and 33-38a ServRegs
have agreed as follows
CHAPTER I
GENERAL PROVISIONS
Article 1
Scope
This Memorandum governs relations between the EPO and the union parties
thereto.
Article 2
Freedom of association
The parties confirm their support for freedom of association as enshrined in
Article 30 of ServRegs. All employees and former employees referred to in
Article 1 of ServRegs may be members of unions of international civil
servants.

Article 3
Role of the unions
1. The EPO recognises the role and responsibility of the unions as important
social dialogue partner as set out in the present Memorandum.
2. The unions shall act in the general interest of the staff. The Office
recognises the aim of the unions to strive towards improvements of the
employment conditions at the EPO. In the exercise of this aim, the union
officials shall be bound by the legal framework applicable at the EPO and
respect the relevant national laws that may apply to them. The unions shall
act without prejudice to the competences conferred to the Staff Committee
and other statutory bodies under the Service Regulations. The rights and
obligations conferred to the signatory parties under the present Memorandum
shall be exercised without prejudice to the competences and powers of the
appointing authorities in accordance with the EPC.
Article 4
Membership
Membership in a union and participation in union activities or the holding of
office in a union shall in no way be prejudicial to the person concerned.
Article 5
Exchange of information
1. The unions shall provide the President with:
- their statutes or articles of association which should fully respect and
comply with the EPO legal framework inter alia the EPC, Service
Regulations, Implementing Rules and Circulars
- the names of their officials within ten working days from the entry into
force of this memorandum.
2. Any changes shall be also communicated to the President within the same
time frame.
3. The parties ensure that any exchange of information between them occurs
in transparency and good faith.

CHAPTER 2
RECOGNITION OF UNIONS
Article 6
Recognition
1. The parties agree on the principle of official recognition of the unions of the
EPO staff.
2. This recognition implies the acceptance by each party of the other as a
social dialogue partner without prejudice and fully respecting the role and
powers conferred on the Staff Committee and other statutory bodies under the
Service Regulations.
3. The parties undertake to ensure that relations and communications
between them are guided by mutual respect fully complying with the EPO
legal framework and the Code of Conduct.
Article 7
Criteria for recognition of the unions
The unions shall be recognised if they:
- declare that their statutory aim is the defence of the interests of all
members of staff without any discrimination based on any ground, such
as job group, nature of connection with the EPO, ethnic or national
origin, opinions or beliefs, gender, sexual orientation or disabilities
- confirm that they have been legally constituted.

Article 8
Groupings of recognised unions
Recognised trade unions may act alone or may form groupings of recognised
trade unions. They may be affiliated to international trade unions.
Article 9
Representativeness of the unions
1. Subject to meeting the requirements set out in Article 7, the EPO shall
recognise as representative the unions which meet the following criteria:
-

they elect their officials in democratic and transparent elections;


they present candidates in official elections with the purpose of having
elected staff representatives or
they have elected staff representatives.

2. Trade unions meeting the above representativeness criteria may sign this
memorandum of understanding.

Article 10
Loss of recognised union status
Any union which no longer meets one of the requirements set out in Articles 7
and 9 shall be notified by the Administration and its rights under the present
memorandum shall be suspended within three months. Such rights shall be
immediately restored on verification that the requirements in question have
been again met.
CHAPTER 3
NEGOTIATON PROCESS
Article 11
Consultation process- mutual exchange of information
1. At the beginning of each calendar year, the President shall send to the
signatory trade unions a provisional list of the main items that are to be the
subject of consultation and mutual exchange of information.
2. This list may be amended during the course of the year according to the
EPOs strategic goals, policies and social issues at any given time.
3. The unions may also inform the President of the list of items they wish to
have discussed within the framework of social dialogue. The items on the
social dialogue list and their priorities ranking shall be established in mutual
agreement by the President and the unions and the list shall be published to
all staff
Article 12
Scope of the negotiation process
1. The negotiation process may relate to proposals relating to staff policy and
the working conditions of the whole or part of the staff. The aim of the
discussion is to reach an agreement on a proposal to be submitted to further
statutory consultation process for the final decision by the Administrative
Council.
2. The parties have to agree on the subject matters that will be subject to
negotiations.
3. Before starting the negotiation, the parties define a maximum time to reach
an agreement.

Article 13
Negotiation process meetings
1. Negotiation process shall take place in a meeting to which attend a
maximum of one representative per local signatory union and one
representative per central signatory union.
2. Each signatory union shall be free to decide on the choice of its
representatives among EPO staff in active service.
3. The President shall designate a number of Office representatives not more
than the union representatives.
4. Based on the social dialogue list established in accordance with Article 11,
the agenda shall be set by the President and sent to the signatory unions
before the date of the meeting.
5. Following the negotiation process meeting a document summarising the
positions of each party and the agreement or disagreement on the relevant
social dialogue item shall be drawn up. This document shall be included in the
further statutory consultation mechanism within GCC.
6. In case agreement is reached, the signatory unions shall call for social
peace as regards the relevant proposal, refrain from issuing a call for a strike,
and call on their members not to participate in any other industrial actions.
The signatory unions shall in this case not support or encourage individual
litigation actions.

CHAPTER 4
RESOURCES AND FACILITIES GRANTED TO THE SIGNATORY UNIONS
Article 14
Provision of resources to unions
The unions are financed by the contributions of their members.
Notwithstanding this principle, the Office shall provide the necessary means
for the communication between signatory unions and staff members as well
as facilities to participate in the negotiation process.

Article 15
Premises
1. The EPO shall make premises available for trade unions for the purpose of
meeting staff and holding union committee meetings.
2. The unions shall have the right to hold meetings for staff at large and
general assemblies in the EPO buildings outside core hours subject to a prior
notice of at least three working days to be submitted to the site manager and

Vice-President DG 4. Organisers shall ensure that staff attending these


meetings must comply with the security and safety rules applicable in the
Office premises.
Article 16
Use of IT tools and distribution of union documents
1. Unions may use the designated intranet site, as well as notice boards in the
communal areas of the Office to publish information to staff. Additionally, they
are provided with RSS feeds allowing staff members to receive up-dates of
unions intranet sites directly to their chosen email inbox. The published
content is made under the content providers responsibility. The unions shall
observe the rules in force with regard to communication and ensure that its
publications are professional and respectful and meet the standards expected
of the international civil service and under the EPO legal framework.
2. The printing of any documents shall be carried out by using union own
resources. Upon request, the Offices internal services and facilities may be
used for distribution of such documents by each signatory union up to two
times per year.
3. Upon request, a signatory union may dispatch per year up to two e-mails to
all staff, inter alia for the purpose of convening a general assembly,
distributing activity reports etc.
4. The signatory union shall ensure that the documents and e-mails referred
to above are formulated in a fair and respectful manner, in factual terms and
in accordance with the standards expected of the international civil service.

Article 17
Staff hired by the unions
1. The unions may, out of their own funds and strictly under their own
responsibility, employ staff under private law contracts in the EPO premises
made available to them. Such contract must expressly state that there is no
contractual relationship with the EPO.

2. The unions must inform the Office of the identity of such staff and the tasks
to be carried out by them.

Article 18
Time deductions for union representatives
1. Union representatives who participate in a negotiation process meeting
shall be entitled to deduct reasonable time for the preparation, participation
and follow up of such a meeting. This time deduction is limited up to three

days per meeting and includes travelling time of up to half a day per leg of the
trip if applicable.
2. The above time deduction is not granted to fully exempted Staff Committee
members.
Article 19
Special leave for union officials
Upon justified request, each signatory union may be granted up to four
working days special leave per calendar year for the purposes of its officials
participating in the events organised by their central bodies, other unions or
organisation of unions as well as in trainings relevant to union work.

Article 20
Final provisions
1. This memorandum which enters into force on 1st April 2016 shall be valid
for a period of three years, i.e. until 28 February 2019.
2. After an initial period of two years from the date of its entry into force:
this memorandum may be reviewed upon request of any of the parties
based on the experience gained;
any party may withdraw from this memorandum provided that it gives
six months notice in writing to the other parties concerned.
3. On 1st March 2019, this memorandum shall be automatically extended for a
further period of three years, unless any of the parties to this memorandum
requests renegotiation of any of its terms by giving six months notice in
writing to the other parties concerned.

SIGNATURES