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Movement expected soon in EVA Air strike impasse

2019/06/26 18:05:17

Striking EVA Air cabin crew

Taipei, June 26 (CNA) The current standoff between striking EVA Airways flight attendants and the airline's management may soon move closer to resolution as the labor union has shown willingness to soften its stance on key issues.

As the strike entered its seventh day Wednesday, the Taoyuan Flight Attendants' Union was talking with its striking members on adjusting its position on key issues, union deputy secretary Chou Sheng-kai (周聖凱) said.

The revised appeals will be made public Thursday morning in the hope of getting management back to the bargaining table, Chou said.

Since the strike was launched on June 20 by more than 2,000 EVA Air flight attendants, the two sides have mostly remained stuck on their positions, showing little room for compromise.

But the union said in a statement it was hoping to rekindle negotiations with the airline's management by bridging the gap on eight key issues.

In particular, it has expressed a willingness to compromise on three core demands -- raising their overseas daily allowance, appointing a labor representative on the company's board, and insisting that non-union employees not receive benefits negotiated with the union.

Depending on how management receives the union's change in position Thursday, the union could hold a vote over the weekend on whether to continue with the strike.

EVA Air has tried to portray union solidarity as weakening in recent days, saying that some striking flight attendants have asked the airline to help them get back identification documents from the union so they can go back to work.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the union said it had collected the passports, mainland travel permits for Taiwan residents and EVA Air employee ID cards from over 2,200 flight attendants, or nearly three-quarters of the 2,949 flight attendants who voted in favor of the strike.

Flight attendants who took part in the strike were required to hand over the three documents to the union to deter them from going back to work.

According to EVA Air, about 100 flight attendants had asked the company to help them get back their IDs from the union as of yesterday.

Then, to encourage more flight attendants to abandon the strike, EVA Air announced early Wednesday that it would help those wanting to go back to work apply for a new passport free of charge to get around union resistance to giving them back their documents.

Around 200 people had taken up the airline on the offer as of 2 p.m., according to the company.

Regardless of what happens in the coming days, EVA Air officially announced Wednesday the cancellation of another 368 flights from July 1 to July 5 because of the lack of flight attendants.

Flight cancellations since the strike began on June 20 are expected to total more than 1,000 flights by June 30, affecting some 200,000 passengers.

(By Flor Wang and Chiu Chunn-chin)
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