Judgment No. 2827
The complaints are dismissed.
"The argument that the complaints are not receivable ratione personae is based solely on the fact that the complainants did not describe themselves as members of the Staff Committee, in which capacity they may institute proceedings to ensure observance of the Service Regulations (see Judgments 1147, 1897 and 2649), but as «elected staff representatives». The argument must be rejected. The complainants are members of the Staff Committee, a fact that was communicated to the EPO in June 2006, shortly after their election. Moreover, they referred in their request of 4 July 2007 to Article 34 of the Service Regulations which sets forth certain duties of the Committee. The EPO does not, and could not credibly claim that it has been prejudiced by the complainants' failure to state expressly that they are members of the Staff Committee. In these circumstances it is not in the interests of justice to hold the complaints irreceivable by reason of what the EPO, itself, implicitly acknowledges was a «clerical error»."
Organization rules reference: Article 34 of the Service Regulations for Permanent Employees of the EPO
ILOAT Judgment(s): 1147, 1897, 2649
complaint; receivability of the complaint; staff union; staff union activity; staff representative
"The EPO contends that the complaints are irreceivable ratione materiae on the basis that the implied decision refusing to provide the complainants with the requested information is not a "decision relating to a specific individual" for the purposes of Article 106 of the Service Regulations. It was pointed out in Judgment 1542 that: "a complaint is receivable only if it is about an individual official's status as an employee of the organisation, not about the collective interests of trade unionists." It is well settled that a complaint may concern breach of the Service Regulations (see Judgment 1147) or other guarantees that the EPO is bound to provide to its staff (see Judgment 2649). Those guarantees extend to freedom of association and collective bargaining insofar as they are implicit in the Service Regulations. With respect to collective bargaining, it is sufficient to note that Article 34(1) mandates that the Staff Committee "shall represent the interests of the staff and maintain suitable contacts between the competent administrative authorities and the staff" and that Article 36(1) enables it to "mak[e] [...] suggestions relating to [...] the collective interests of the whole or part of the staff". However, the rights that are comprehended within the notions of "freedom of association" and "collective bargaining" that may also be the subject of an internal appeal and, subsequently, of a complaint to the Tribunal are individual rights inhering in individual staff members."
Organization rules reference: Articles 34, 36 and 106 of the Service Regulations for Permanent Employees of the EPO
ILOAT Judgment(s): 1147, 1542, 2649
complaint; decision; individual decision; receivability of the complaint; organisation's duties; collective rights; staff union; collective bargaining; freedom of association; staff union activity; staff representative; right