Union says 2,000 attendants now part of EVA strike

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Jun 24, 2019 - Page 3

The number of EVA Airways flight attendants on strike has risen to 2,000, the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union said yesterday, adding that so far, only one person has chosen to return to work.

Despite the rain yesterday and today, an increasing number of flight attendants have been joining the strike as they return to Taoyuan, union secretary-general Cheng Ya-ling (鄭雅菱) said.

Members on strike are taking turns to join a rally outside EVA Airways’ headquarters in Taoyuan’s Nankan (南崁), where the union has set up a picket line, she said.

So far, only one union member has quit the strike to return to work, citing pressure from their family and upper management, she said, adding that it was an isolated case.

The union every 10 days is to vote on whether to continue the strike, unless the company makes new offers, she said.

“The union has never closed the door to negations. As long as the company is willing to talk and drop its bossy attitude, we can resume talks any time,” she said.

The union is not only fighting pressure from EVA, but also fake news about the strike, she said.

The Chinese-language China Times alone has published 20 reports and commentaries “attacking” the union, many of which contain false accusations that have not been verified, she said.

For example, a report published on Friday said that the flight attendants on strike are spoiled “princesses” and that the union has instructed its members to bully non-members, Cheng added.

To ensure that members of the public receive correct information about the strike, the union has set up a response team to correct rumors and stop them from spreading, she said.

Asked about travel agencies’ plans to protest against the strike tomorrow, Cheng said that the union respects their right to express their opinions.

“Nonetheless, we hope they would understand that going on strike was not our first choice — we decided to go on strike only after we had tried sit-ins, holding news conferences and attending government-led mediation sessions,” she said.

While some have called for legislation requiring a notice period for aviation-related strikes, Cheng said that such a law would take away all the leverage employees have by going on strike.

Since the union applied for government mediation in December last year, it has held numerous news conferences to inform the public that the labor dispute could escalate, she said.

Instead of blaming the strike entirely on the union, the company could have provided travelers with more information about the dispute and made plans in advance, she added.

EVA flight attendants began their strike at 4pm on Thursday after negotiations with management broke down earlier in the day.