EVA union members start vote on whether to strike

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Tue, May 14, 2019 - Page 1

The Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union yesterday said it had started voting in Taoyuan and Kaohsiung to determine whether to call a strike at EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空).

As of press time last night, 70 percent of EVA Air union members in the southern branches had completed voting in Kaohsiung, while more than 100 union members had voted in Taoyuan.

Union secretary-general Cheng Ya-ling (鄭雅菱) said that union members taking part in the vote are given two ballots: The first one asks if they agree to launch a strike against the airline, and the second one asks if they agree to the union setting up a picket line.

To call a strike, more than half of the union’s members, including at least 80 percent of EVA flight attendants, must vote in favor of it, the union said.

With 5,933 members, that means at least 2,967 members — including 2,621 EVA flight attendants — must vote “yes” to go on strike, the union said.

Labor laws stipulate that unions can hold a strike if more than half of their members vote in favor of one, but the union added that clause on EVA flight attendants to avoid doubts about its legitimacy, it said.

“The union will not launch a strike unless both conditions are met,” it said, adding that it is still open to negotiating with the company.

The voting is to continue until June 6 and ballot counting is to start that day, Cheng said.

EVA’s uncompromising attitude toward the union has instiled fear among some union members, but the majority were infuriated by the airline’s intimidation tactics, she said.

It has conversely encouraged more members to come out and vote, she said, adding that she is confident at least 80 percent of EVA flight attendants would vote for a strike.

The union has for months been demanding more rest time between flights, an increase in layover allowance exclusively for its members and the inclusion of its representatives on the company’s board and internal disciplinary committee.

On April 19, the union passed a decision to call a strike vote after three government-led negotiations with the company failed to reach any agreements on its demands.

Additional reporting by CNA