Thu, Oct 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Pilot union calls on CAL to negotiate or face strike

MANAGEMENT:Demands by the Taoyuan Union of Pilots include equal treatment of local and foreign pilots, and a more reasonable reward and punishment system

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Taoyuan Union of Pilots yesterday pushed for quicker negotiations with China Airlines (CAL) over its proposed changes to the company’s management system, adding that it would not rule out going on strike if the negotiations failed.

A majority of the union’s members work for China Airlines and its subsidiary, Mandarin Airlines.

The union on Tuesday approved proposed changes to China Airlines’ management system, including: strictly enforcing rules governing the recruitment and training of foreign pilots; implementing a more reasonable reward and punishment mechanism for employees; adopting a flight operation quality assurance system; stipulating regulations on the administration of alcohol tests for pilots; changing its method for calculating pilots’ in-flight time; and fulfilling its promises to Mandarin Airlines pilots.

Should the union and the company fail to come to an agreement, the union said it would ask the Taoyuan Department of Labor for help in arbitrating the dispute.

If the arbitration fails, the union’s board would vote if the group should go on strike, the union said.

“It has been two years since we obtained the right to go on strike. Even though the airline has negotiated with the union over the collective agreement between labor and the management, the airline continues to enforce an unreasonable management system and impose out-of-proportion punishment on workers. Reform is an urgent matter and has to be done now,” the union said.

The standards that the company uses to hire and train Taiwanese pilots should also apply to foreign pilots, union director Chen Hsiang-ling (陳祥齡) said.

The company usually blames trainees for failing to pass the test at the end of the training and being eliminated, he added.

“However, those trainees failing the test are not necessarily bad pilots. Rather, the problem may lie with the people administering the tests, whom the company have not changed for years, as well as an outdated training system. Talented individuals should have a chance to be seen and to stay in CAL,” he said.

The union is also dissatisfied with China Airlines’ employee performance evaluation system, with workers being punished for minor errors while problems that compromise aviation safety are treated lightly, Chen said.

The union has proposed that pilots be given the right to nominate candidates for chief pilot, from whom the company can pick the most suitable one.

Another option is to have the company provide a list of candidates for chief pilot and let employees vote on them, the union said.

China Airlines said it would respond to any reasonable appeal proposed by its employees, adding that communication with members of the company’s own union and representatives of the pilots has been sound.

The company is also open to negotiations with members of the Taoyuan Union of Pilots, it said.

Alcohol tests for pilots will be strictly enforced before any flight, and those who fail the test will be dealt with in line with company regulations, it said.

Aviation safety is the company’s top priority and the principle applies to the management of both Taiwanese and foreign pilots, it said.

The union should not threaten to hold a strike whenever there is a dispute between labor and management, the company said.

Both sides should respect each other and seek to resolve the differences through rational communications, it said.

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