Sun, Aug 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Authorities prepare as union plans pilot strike

Staff writer, with CNA

Transportation authorities yesterday said that they have taken precautions in case pilots from the nation’s two major airlines strike, while the Taoyuan Union of Pilots said it would rehearse the walkout amid growing pressure from carriers.

Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has been in talks with the Ministry of Labor and the Taoyuan City Government, where the union is based, to solve the problem swiftly.

While he declined to disclose details, Wang said that authorities have been working to meet with pilots from China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Air to avoid a strike.

Meanwhile, Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC), which oversees the nation’s main gateway, said that it has held meetings with CAL, EVA Air and airport service companies to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

The company has a response plan, spokesman Lee Jian-kuo (李建國) said, adding that should there be a strike, the airlines must make sure that their aircraft do not occupy ramps and gangways.

As many as 70 percent of the members of the union have cast their ballots on whether to stage a walkout as part of a vote that is to end tomorrow, following unsuccessful negotiations over working conditions at CAL and EVA Air.

The union represents about 800, or 70 percent, of CAL’s pilots and 500, or 50 percent, of EVA Air’s pilots.

The union earlier this week said that it was considering a strike during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

However, it has received a provisional injunction, which was applied for by CAL, to prevent pilots from going on strike before a hearing can take place, the union said.

CAL confirmed that it has appealed to the court that the strike is illegitimate.

The lawsuit, regardless of its result, could delay the union’s strike plans, union spokesman Chen Po-chien (陳柏謙) said.

In response, the union said it would hold a strike rehearsal after the vote to familiarize pilots with strike procedures.

The union would campaign intensively to help pilots legally fight for their rights, it added.

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