Union sorry for unclear response to incident

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Jul 11, 2019 - Page 3

The Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union yesterday apologized to the public for failing to offer a clear explanation earlier this week over a board member’s remarks about tampering with an EVA Airways pilot’s in-flight meal.

Screenshots of a group conversation that leaked on Sunday evening show the board member — an EVA flight attendant surnamed Kuo (郭) — sharing a photograph of the pilot and writing: “This man is going to get extras in his entree.”

At a news conference on Monday morning, the union said that Kuo does not intend to bully anyone, adding that there are many fabricated screenshots of Kuo’s remarks circulating online.

However, it on Tuesday issued a statement from Kuo admitting that the screenshots were authentic and apologizing to the public.

The union apologizes for failing to properly investigate the incident and to offer a clear explanation earlier, it said in a statement read by union member Wang Mei-hsin (王美心) at a news conference at the union’s office in Taipei.

Kuo’s remarks were made on Sunday afternoon in a group conversation on the Line messaging app, the statement said.

When the union on Monday morning asked Kuo whether she had made the remarks about tampering with food onboard an aircraft, she replied that it was “just a joke between friends” and that she had no intention of bullying anyone, it said.

Later that day, the union met with Kuo to discuss the matter in detail and decided to issue Kuo’s apology, as the remarks had led to a misunderstanding and concerns about aviation safety, and Kuo felt deeply responsible, the statement said.

Following the incident, Kuo was transferred to ground work and is now under investigation, it said.

With the police investigation under way, union board member Chu Chia-yun (曲佳雲) said that she hopes the company and its employees would respect the probe and repair their relationship.

She urged flight attendants to adhere to the principles of love, acceptance, respect and communication, and not do anything to harm others.

“The union exists to improve labor conditions and employee benefits. We hope to coexist with the company, because good benefits are not be possible unless the company is making profits,” Chu said.

Separately, the Taoyuan Union of Pilots yesterday said that it is helping a former EVA pilot surnamed Chu (朱) lodge a complaint against the airline.

The airline on Tuesday confirmed that Chu had been fired for endangering flight safety and undermining the company’s image after he posted controversial remarks on social media.

Chu reportedly on Facebook urged flight attendants who went on strike to give “special meals” to people critical of the labor action.

Dismissing the pilot for remarks on social media was overly harsh and disproportionate to principles set down in labor laws, the union said in the statement.

Firing an employee has a negative effect on other workers’ morale, as well as on the employer-staff relationship, it said.

“We hope EVA Airways would reconsider the matter and make adjustments in accordance with the principle of proportionality,” it said.