Fri, Aug 31, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Union promises airlines a year of no pilot strikes

NOT OVER YET:Both airlines have agreed on some core concerns, such as flight safety and working hours, but the details need to be threshed out, the union said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

EVA Air crew arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on May 24.

Photo: EPA

The Taoyuan Union of Pilots yesterday agreed to not strike for a year after reaching a preliminary agreement with China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways.

The union has one division dedicated to CAL negotiations and another for EVA issues. Negotiations with each airline were arbitrated by officials from the Taoyuan Department of Labor.

After a third round of negotiations last week, CAL pilots said that they would hold off on any strike action, after reaching an agreement on core issues.

Yesterday’s meeting was the fourth round of negotiations between EVA pilots and the airline’s management.

After the meeting, the union said that it had reached a preliminary agreement with both airlines on some core issues.

However, both sides have yet to discuss the details of these agreements, and there is not enough time to review any unresolved issues, so they have decided to continue negotiations for another year, the union said.

During this time the union would not exercise its right to hold a labor strike, it said, adding that all unresolved issues must be settled by the end of September next year.

CAL has agreed to modify the way it uses recorded flight data in its Flight Operation Quality Assurance program, the union said in a statement.

The company also agreed that enhancing personnel training should be a top priority with regards to improving flight safety, rather than punishment, the union said, adding that CAL would also need to negotiate with the union before it proposes changes that might adversely affect pilots’ labor conditions.

“We believe the agreement will help the company’s management and pilots improve flight safety together,” the union said.

EVA management agreed to gradually reduce the minimum service years of pilots whose training was entirely funded by the company from 15 years now to 12 years next year, 11 years in 2020 and 10 years in 2021.

It also agreed that pilots on late-night “red-eye” flights can spend the night at their destination and return to Taiwan the next day.

In winter, the company would have to increase the number of pilots serving on long-distance flights, such as the one between Taipei and Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, captains would be fully authorized to delay or cancel flights if there is inclement weather, the union said, adding that the agreement would improve flight safety and prevent overwork, the union said.

If any issues are not settled by the deadline next year, the union is entitled to exercise its right to strike, it said, adding that it would agree not to organize strikes for three years if all the issues are resolved in a year and provided that the airlines do not engage in improper labor practices.

The Department of Labor hosted a news conference after the negotiations with EVA were completed.

“We recognize the efforts from both the airlines and the union to reach a consensus with goodwill,” Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said, adding that the ministry would continue to offer its assistance.

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said that CAL and EVA are two important companies in the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project, which would only succeed if the two companies develop sustainably.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration said that it would host a seminar on Flight Operation Quality Assurance in view of the labor dispute.

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