Tue, Jul 02, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Union fights against AWOL claim

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Striking EVA Airways flight attendants hold pink balloons with “Rational negotiation,” and “We want our rights protected” written on them in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

The Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union yesterday insisted that 24 EVA Airways flight attendants who joined the strike on June 20 not be punished for being absent without leave (AWOL).

The flight attendants had informed their manager of their plan to join the strike in advance and had originally been marked as being on strike, before the company later changed their status to absent without leave, union secretary-general Cheng Ya-ling (鄭雅菱) told a news conference in Taipei.

Shortly before leaving work for the strike, four were undergoing training and 20 were awaiting boarding, the union said.

None of the flight attendants left work before the strike began, delayed boarding or walked away from passengers who had already boarded, she said.

One of the flight attendants did not sign off from duty until 4:05pm, five minutes after the strike began, and the company marked her as “on strike” at 4:45pm, union representative Huang Man-ling (黃蔓鈴) said.

Her flight, BR722 to Shanghai, did not arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport until 3:20pm and when the flight attendant left at 4:10pm, no new passengers had boarded the plane, Huang said.

“Accusations about flight attendants walking away from boarded passengers, undermining flight safety and avoiding boarding are all untrue and meant to make the strike appear unjustified,” she said.

Flight attendants can refuse to work after the union launches a legal strike, union deputy secretary Chou Sheng-kai (周聖凱) told reporters in Taoyuan.

“That it is legal should be without dispute,” he said.

Regarding today’s meeting with the airline’s upper management, Chou expressed hope that the company will agree not to discipline members who joined the strike and not reduce their benefits.

Union representative Lin Yu-chia (林昱嘉) said the union also hopes that company chairman Steve Lin (林寶水) and president Clay Sun (孫嘉明) will attend the meeting.

Negotiations on Saturday broke down partly because the company representatives were not top executives and were not authorized to make key decisions on the spot, she said.

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