Sat, Jul 06, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Ministry mulls adding strike handling to airline audits

By Cheng Wei-chi, Wei Chin-yun and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

A member of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union holds a placard that reads: “16th day of EVA Airways flight attendant strike” during a march from the airline’s headquarters in Taoyuan’s Nankan to the Presidential Office Building in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

As a prolonged strike by flight attendants is affecting the rights of the public, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is mulling whether to include the ability to handle high-risk labor action as part of annual reviews of the flight routes and aviation rights of airlines, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday.

Lin’s remark came as the strike by the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union against EVA Airways (長榮航空) entered its 16th day.

He called on the union and company to reach a resolution as soon as possible and conclude the strike.

The longer the strike drags on, the more the union and the company would suffer, he said.

Regarding the possible reviews, Lin said that it was a reminder to EVA that the strike is not just an internal dispute, as it has spilled over to affect public interests.

He said that the Civil Aeronautics Administration would review the aviation rights of EVA and China Airlines (中華航空), which was affected by a strike earlier this year.

Separately yesterday, the union gathered 50 flight attendants and their families to walk from EVA’s headquarters in Taoyuan’s Nankan (南崁) to the Presidential Office Building in Taipei, shouting: “Flight attendants are walking in protest of EVA’s oppression.”

The group carried cardboard signs that read: “Protesting oppression. Fighting for dignity.”

They also carried a figure of a red crab, which signified the airline.

In Chinese, the phrase heng xing (橫行, “to walk sideways”) also carries the connotation of being domineering; the crab, which walks sideways, is used as a symbol of oppressing entities.

The strike was no longer about the dispute between the employees and the company, but rather the broader issues of whether labor rights in Taiwan could be upheld and whether Taiwanese employees can legally protest against companies, union representative Lin Yu-chia (林昱嘉) said.

The group aimed to tell President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) through their actions that they, female workers, have also made great efforts to advance labor rights, she said.

That march is a statement that the employees want to defend their labor rights and that they want the right to freely voice such opinions guaranteed, she added.

Tsai later said that she hoped both sides would resume negotiations in a rational manner, adding that the company should communicate with its employees how much it cares for them.

Additional reporting by Chou Min-hung

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