China Airlines staff protest pilots’ strike

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Feb 11, 2019 - Page 1

About 200 China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空) employees yesterday said that they opposed the strike launched by the Taoyuan Union of Pilots, at a protest outside the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in Taipei.

Protesters also questioned the role of union chairwoman Lee Hsin-yen (李信燕), who is an EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) pilot, saying that she should withdraw from negotiations with airline management, as it involves confidential information.

“I was elected through legal procedures to be the chairwoman of the union, which represents CAL and EVA pilots,” Lee said.

“I am simply fulfilling my responsibility as the chairwoman, which is to represent its members,” she said.

The employees who protested did so voluntarily and did not receive any instructions from company management, CAL manager Lee Ching-ting (李晶婷) said. 

“The union, on the other hand, searched the Internet to identify pilots who defied its order to go on strike. It should stop cyberbullying and face the public honestly instead,” she said.

Ground staff have been working extra hours to help passengers change their tickets, and many were still working yesterday, so they could not attend the protest, Lee Ching-ting said.

Some of the protestors told the Taipei Times that the pilots should be reasonable in their demands.

Pilots do not seem to realize that their demands would impose a huge financial burden on the airline, they said, adding that the strike would also cause the company to lose passengers.

After a previous strike launched by flight attendants in 2016, the company took about six months to resume normal operations, they said.

Pilots should stop the strike and start working immediately, they added.

Protesters handed a petition to Civil Aeronautics Administration Flight Standards Division Director Clark Lin (林俊良), who accepted the letter for the ministry.

China Airlines Employees’ Union president Liu Hui-tsung (劉惠宗) also attended the rally, although he was rooting for the striking pilots.

Workers should support each other, Liu said, adding that going on strike was the last resort for workers to defend themselves.

Protesters accused Liu of being shameless and using the union’s membership fees for his campaign for the Taoyuan mayoral election last year.