EVA flight attendants to strike indefinitely: union

JUSTIFIED::A top union official said that the strike was not without warning, as there have been more than 20 rounds of talks with the airline over the past two years

By Hsieh Wu-hsiung and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sat, Jun 22, 2019 - Page 2

There is no timetable to end a strike by EVA Airways flight attendants, who are prepared to stick with it for the long haul, Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union secretary-general Cheng Ya-ling (鄭雅菱) said yesterday.

The flight attendants went on strike at 4pm on Thursday after negotiations with the airline broke down.

Union members led by Cheng yesterday demonstrated against the Taoyuan City Government, which they said is biased in favor of the company, citing an investigative report into the airline.

EVA Air illegally attempted to break a picket line outside its headquarters in Taoyuan’s Lujhu District (蘆竹), allegedly splashing water on union members, they said.

The flight attendants did not go on strike without warning, Cheng said, adding that over the past two years more than 20 rounds of negotiations have taken place.

Calling the company’s attitude insincere, she apologized for the inconvenience the strike has caused to travelers.

More than 1,000 members have joined the strike, Cheng said, citing low wages and prolonged overwork as the primary reasons that 90 percent of the union’s members who work for EVA Air voted in favor of going on strike.

She urged the company to resume negotiations, but said that the union was prepared for a “long-term fight.”

Chang Che-hang (張哲航), the head of the Taoyuan Department of Labor’s Labor Relations Section, who spoke to union members on behalf of the city government, said that the municipality has been unbiased.

The union obtained the right to strike legally, and the department respects the union’s right to a lawful strike and to form a picket line, he said.

Chang urged EVA Air to respect the union’s lawful actions, and said that the company and its employees should continue to communicate rationally to search for a solution together.

The picket line formed by the striking flight attendants left the side and back entrances accessible only to individuals and small passenger vehicles to enter and exit the area, police said.

While the department has recognized the picket line as legal, a bus carrying other EVA Air employees had to use the front entrance because the side and back entrances were blocked, leading to conflict, police said.

Regarding the accusations of bias in the investigative report, which the department had not asked all members of an arbitration committee to sign off on, a department official said that it had hired an outside expert to conduct the investigation into the airline.

The report was intended to serve as evidence in a third round of conflict resolution talks that were scrapped, so the department did not ask all committee members to sign the report, the official said.