EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) yesterday filed a lawsuit at the Taipei District Court against the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union, saying that the union had contravened the Act for Settlement of Labor-Management Disputes (勞資爭議處理法).
The union secured the right to hold a strike after 4,038 members, of whom 2,949 were EVA attendants, on June 7 voted in favor of industrial action, meeting the two thresholds of more than 50 percent of union members and 80 percent of EVA members.
However, EVA said that the union might have breached the act, as it said one of the reasons it launched the strike was the airline’s rejection of its request to employ a labor director, EVA head of legal affairs Morris Hsu (許惠森) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
According to articles 5 and 53 of the act, a strike is only permitted for disputes regarding maintaining or changing the terms and conditions of employment, Hsu said.
“To put it bluntly, workers are allowed to strike if labor and management cannot resolve disputes relating to changes in employees’ paychecks or working hours. However, whether EVA has a labor director has nothing to do with either,” Hsu said.
During the negotiations, the union had asked the company to invite employees to participate in corporate governance and to appoint a labor director, Hsu said.
However, listed companies cannot appoint or “set up” a director, as any appointment needs to be approved by shareholders, Hsu said.
Only state-owned companies have labor directors under the Administrative Act of State-Owned Enterprises (國營事業管理法), Hsu said.
A few privately owned companies have a director recommended by their labor union, but the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法) requires airlines with paid-in capital of NT$2 billion (US$64.2 million) or more to have independent directors in charge of public welfare issues, Hsu said.
As of press time last night, the airline said that today it would have to cancel 59 outbound flights and 53 inbound flights, which would affect 23,200 passengers.
Meanwhile, four EVA Airways employees headed by a woman surnamed Chou (周) filed a lawsuit against Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union executives at the Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday afternoon.
Accompanied by a lawyer, the employees filed a lawsuit against union executives, alleging there had been confrontations during the strike which had breached the law.
“They started the strike on Thursday with a sit-in, where they blocked the front entrance of EVA Airways headquarters,” Chou said, adding that it took her an extra two hours to depart the office by using another exit and walking along a narrow path, which had posed a danger to employees.
“The strike and the confrontations have infringed on the rights and freedom of employees,” Chou added. “The flight attendants should count their blessings, instead of making unreasonable demands.”
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