Fri, May 31, 2019 - Page 2 News List

EVA Airlines, union make little ground during negotiations

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Members of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union yesterday hold notices at a news conference in Taipei after the end of a second round of negotiations with EVA Airways.

Photo courtesy of Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union

Little progress was made in a second round of talks between EVA Airways and the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union (TFAU) over flight attendant pay, work hours and corporate governance, with the union saying that it would take to the streets on Tuesday next week to defend labor rights.

After a six-hour meeting on Wednesday, EVA said it was willing to compromise and adjust the operations of one of the nine round-trip flights that the union sees as “overtime flights,” TFAU secretary-general Cheng Ya-ling (鄭雅菱) said yesterday.

Attendants on the nine flights often work more than 12 hours, the maximum allowed in a single shift under the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法).

Flight attendants serving flight BR198/197 on the route between Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Tokyo’s Narita International Airport would be allowed to work only one way and rest overnight, rather than working both legs of the round-trip flight on the same day, she said.

The adjustment would be carried out on a trial basis from November to April next year, when stronger headwinds will make flight times longer, Cheng said, adding it is subject to seasonal considerations.

“It was disappointing that we reached the consensus just 15 minutes before the negotiations ended, while it took both sides two hours to discuss the rules and procedures for our next meeting,” Cheng said, adding that Tuesday’s protest would demonstrate union members’ “strong will.”

EVA said in a statement that it hopes the union can explain its eight requests clearly so that they can reach common ground at the next meeting.

The company had urged the union to broadcast the Wednesday meeting live, but the union refused, EVA said.

“The livestream would … have helped people understand the company’s and the union’s point of view clearly,” EVA said. “We were confused when the union declined, saying that live streaming the meeting would not help resolve the dispute.”

EVA earlier said that it was not willing to raise flight attendants’ per diem rate from US$3 per hour to US$5 per hour.

The airline yesterday said that had proposed substitute compensation.

The union, which said it wants a per diem rate as high as China Airlines staff receive, should explain why US$3 is insufficient, EVA said.

No airlines allow attendants to rest overnight on the nine routes in question, the airline said, adding that it is willing to allow attendants to stay over in certain months during bad weather conditions and to adopt fixed schedules.

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