Travel agents group irked over EVA strike

HOSTAGES::While acknowledging flight attendants’ right to strike, the group said the workers’ union should have given advance notice to protect consumers’ interests

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Jun 21, 2019 - Page 2

The Travel Agent Association yesterday accused EVA Airways Corp members of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union of ambushing consumers and holding them hostage for their own gains after the union announced a strike against the airline.

“We hope that the government would introduce legislation that would require workers’ unions to give a 10 to 15-day notice before a strike,” the association said. “We do not oppose the strike organized by flight attendants, but neither do we support it. We hope that both sides can quickly reach an agreement to end the strike and minimize its impact.”

The union and the airline’s management yesterday started a third round of negotiations.

After failing to reach an agreement on daily allowances and a “free-rider clause” banning non-union members from benefits enjoyed by union members, the union announced that EVA flight attendants would go on strike starting at 4pm.

While the association affirmed the emergency response measures initiated by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications officials and the airlines, it said that following the standard practice of giving advance notice of a strike would greatly reduce its impact on passengers.

The airline bears the responsibility for transporting travelers to and from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and the flight attendants’ union should not fight for their own benefits by holding strikes, and compromising the interests of passengers, the association said.

Passengers might have to switch to other carriers, ask for ticket refunds or pay additional costs for meals, transportation and accommodation, because of the strike, it said, adding that travel agents often have to cover these additional costs on behalf of the airline first.

EVA should stipulate as soon as possible regulations governing the distribution of compensation to travel agents and customers, the association said.

It should also assign a team to assist travel agents in handling customer-related issues, it said.

“The association and travel agents would assist travelers in switching to other carriers during the strike. However, we also want to make it clear that the airline should take full responsibility for all the tours affected by the strike,” the association said.