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Flight attendants union threatens strike as talks with EVA Air fail

2019/04/17 21:52:54

Taipei, April 17 (CNA) The Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) said Wednesday that it will hold a meeting before the end of the week to decide whether to vote on a strike, after its negotiations with EVA Air broke down earlier in the day.

TFAU Secretary-General Cheng Ya-ling (鄭雅菱) said EVA Air still has not come up with any solutions to the issues raised in the last round of negotiations Wednesday, which mainly focused on the rights of cabin crews.

Some of the differences the union has with EVA Air, one of Taiwan's major airlines, include work schedules that leave flight attendants fatigued, and a request that employees be allowed to attend the company's board and evaluation meetings, Cheng said.

With no resolution after the third round of negotiations, Cheng said, it would be a waste of time on both sides to plan further discussions.

She said that during the negotiations, TFAU had asked for flight crews to work only one-way on 21 routes to avoid fatigue, and the union had later cut down the number of routes to nine.

EVA Air, however, has been able to reach only a partial agreement on two of the routes, agreeing to allow flight attendants on outbound flights from Taipei to Tokyo and Beijing to stay overnight and then return to work on an inbound flight the next day, Cheng said, adding that the airline's proposal was for a one-to-three-month period.

In view of the airline's failure to meet the union's requests, she said, TFAU will hold a meeting before Friday so that its members can vote on whether to initiate a strike or continue the negotiations.

In response, Hsu Ping (許平), deputy assistant manager at EVA Air's human resources department, said the airline was urging the union to remain open to further talks despite the lack of progress in the negotiations so far.

Hsu indicated that the main cause of the breakdown in negotiations was a "no free ride" proposal by the union, which would exclude non-union flight attendants from the changes sought by the union members.

That would result in different treatment of flight attendants and would violate the principle of crew resource management, Hsu said, adding that it may also jeopardize flight safety and the quality of service.

Under such considerations, EVA Air cannot agree to the union's proposal to exclude non-members, Hsu said.

Meanwhile, the Taoyuan City government's Department of Labor said it hopes EVA Air will pay greater attention to the union's demands and make a better response.

The department also expressed the hope that the two sides would continue their discussions to resolve their disputes.

(By Wu Jui-chi, Yu Hsiao-han and William Yen)