Mon, Jan 28, 2019 - Page 3 News List

CAL pilots might launch strike

DEADLOCKED:The airline said raising safety bonuses for pilots would add NT$120 million to its annual costs, adding that some of their demands were ‘unreasonable’

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A member of the Taoyuan Union of Pilots on Tuesday signs a joint protest in anticipation of a possible strike on Friday over an alleged breach of agreement.

Photo: Yao Chieh-hsiu, Taipei Times

China Airlines (CAL) pilots plan to decide on Friday whether to launch a strike, the Taoyuan Union of Pilots has said, adding that the company had breached the terms of an agreement it signed with the pilots last year and refused to compromise during negotiations.

The union, which represents pilots from CAL and EVA Airways, on Aug. 7 last year obtained the legal mandate to organize a strike through a vote among its members.

However, the union and the two airlines reached a consensus on some of the core issues following days of negotiations, and on Aug. 23 agreed to keep negotiating for another year over unresolved issues.

The agreement was witnessed by Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) and officials from the Taoyuan Department of Labor.

Should the airlines and pilots reach an agreement within one year, the union pledged not to call any strikes for three years.

However, if the negotiations failed to produce any substantial results by the deadline, the union would have the right to launch a strike, depending on the situation, according to the agreement.

EVA Air pilots last year signed a collective agreement with company management.

However, negotiations between CAL pilots and the airline’s management have not gone smoothly.

The union has conducted a poll among its members who are CAL pilots to determine whether they support a tougher or more conservative approach in negotiations with company management.

The survey also collected the pilots’ views on three core issues that CAL and its pilots had agreed upon.

The union said that it has reached an agreement with the company on the payment of flight safety bonuses every January.

The bonus would be raised from NT$10,000 to NT$20,000 (US$324.4 to US$649) per month for pilots and from NT$6,000 to NT$12,000 per month for copilots, according to the agreement, which is to take effect on March 1.

The union and CAL’s management also agreed to negotiate about 18 other issues for one more year, saying that the union would sign a collective agreement with CAL once they reach a consensus on all 21 issues.

CAL said that the negotiations have been under way for less than six months, but the union has already conducted a survey and wrongfully criticized the company.

The company said raising flight safety bonuses would increase its personnel expenditures by NT$120 million annually.

CAL has also agreed to pay pilots double salary for working during national holidays, it said, adding that pilots assigned to flights during non-standby periods would also be paid bonuses.

Pilots’ subsidies for overnight stay abroad would be raised as well, the airline said, adding that it would spend NT$200 million more on the costs than its competitors.

The company said it has also promised to review flight assignments every three months to make sure its pilots are not overworked.

However, some of the union’s requests are unreasonable, CAL said.

For example, the union asked for a bonus of NT$3,000 to NT$4,000 per landing for red-eye fights, the company said, adding that it cannot meet such a demand in light of competition and operational costs.

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