Sun, Feb 10, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Taoyuan mayor says CAL pilot strike was avoidable

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) yesterday said that a strike by China Airlines (CAL) pilots might have been avoided if airline chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan (何煖軒) had followed his advice.

CAL pilots belonging to the Taoyuan Union of Pilots went on strike from early on Friday morning, causing at least 20 flights to be canceled as of press time last night and affecting thousands of passengers.

However, claims that the strike was the result of a fallout between Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) factions was a fabrication, Cheng said.

The strike resulted from controversy between former DPP factions, Taipei City Councilor Wang Hong-wei (王鴻薇), of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), wrote on Facebook on Friday.

In 2006, the DPP dissolved its factions, but many continue to exist unofficially.

Wang said that Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) is “second man” in the Taiwan Normal Country Promotion Association — also known as the “Yu faction” due to the leadership of former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) — while Ho is a “guardian” in the former New Tide faction.

Lin and Ho have been unable to solve problems, Wang said, adding that they are only good at spats and shirking responsibility.

Shortly after the strike began, pundits claimed that Ho despised Lin and would only take advice from Cheng, reportedly a leading figure in the New Tide faction.

“CAL chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan is not in any faction and was designated chairman because he had served in several posts at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications [MOTC],” Cheng said.

“If he had listened to my suggestion, the strike might have been avoided,” he added.

The union in August last year reached a preliminary agreement with China Airlines and EVA Airways, Cheng said, but added that China Airlines did not reach a consensus with its employees as EVA Airways did.

Cheng said that Ho and the union should have made some concessions to employees and preferred dialogue over confrontation.

“Ho could have accepted suggestions made by CAL executives, especially the managers, and ignored calls from outside the company for arriving at a consensus,” he said.

The MOTC, the Ministry of Labor and the Taoyuan City Government are monitoring the situation and working together to resolve the problem, Cheng said.

Cheng said the he sees eye to eye with Lin over the strike and spoke with Lin by telephone on Friday and yesterday.

The local and central governments are on the same boat in confronting the strike, which is a national issue that has affected the rights of many passengers, as well as the nation’s reputation, he said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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