Fri, Jun 28, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Ministries clashing over EVA strike: report

PERSONAL OPINION?An MOTC official rebutted a report that the ministry and the labor ministry are at odds, or that it had given out too much information

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A balloon that read “Let’s go home” is pictured yesterday at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The balloon was commissioned by EVA Airways management as part of a “charm offensive” to persuade its striking flight attendants to return to work.

Photo: Wei Chin-yun, Taipei Times

The Ministry of Labor (MOL) yesterday allegedly accused the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) of leaking too much information to the media about its negotiations with the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union over the strike against EVA Airways Corp and treating it like a subordinate rather than equal agency.

A report by the Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday quoted an anonymous labor ministry official as saying that the MOL’s efforts to end the strike were being held back by the MOTC, with the latter creating confusion by proposing a strike authorization period.

Asked to comment on the report, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said that it was probably the personal opinion of one labor official.

“The strike has made everybody busy and lowered everyone’s spirit. As far as I know, ministers and deputy ministers in both ministries are on good terms and are working hard to resolve this matter. Now is the time to resolve the labor dispute, rather than creating internal struggles,” he said.

Wang added that he only talked about the general direction of the discussions at the emergency response meeting when he briefed reporters and did not disclose any details about the negotiations.

Whatever the anonymous labor official said does not reflect the relationship between the two ministries, he said.

The MOTC’s ad hoc emergency response center has been operating by assigning officials to four teams to monitor and respond to situations at the airport, dispatch military aircraft, assist travelers and facilitate labor-management negotiations, Wang said.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) then delivered concluding remarks, which he did by rooting for everyone, rather than giving a direct order, Wang said.

“The union has changed its demands, which is a good start. It would make it easier for both sides to focus on key issues and resolve the dispute,” he added.

MOTC statistics showed that the airline managed to keep 42 percent of its transport capacity yesterday, canceling 105 of 181 flights scheduled yesterday. The cancelation affected 20,988 passengers.

From Thursday to yesterday, the airline had canceled 738 flights, affecting 153,164 passengers.

In addition to canceling long-haul flights, Wang said the airline had kept some of the short-haul flights and used bigger airplanes to ferry passengers, such as those to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and to Narita, Fukuoka and Osaka in Japan.

For popular destinations like Los Angeles or Hong Kong, the airline has increased its flights to clear a backlog of passengers, Wang said.

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