Wed, Jul 03, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Taskforce to study rules on advance strike notice

NEGOTIATIONS:EVA and the flight attendants’ union reached a tentative agreement on the fate of 27 workers and on reinstating the benefits of strikers, the union said

By Shelley Shan and Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporters

Representatives from EVA Airways and the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union hold negotiations in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

The Executive Yuan has agreed to establish a taskforce to study regulations stipulating advance notice of strikes be given after the EVA Airways labor dispute ends, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday.

Speaking with reporters after the opening ceremony of a special exhibition on the South Link Highway at the Directorate-General of Highways, Lin said that he hoped that EVA and the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union would be kind to each other and reach a consensus.

“We hope they can quickly sign a collective agreement. Issues that they have yet to agree on, including the 25 employees who might be punished for walking out before the strike officially began, should not affect the signing of such an agreement. We also hope that there would be a mechanism to settle the issues that are still in dispute. There is already an agreement on what the general direction is and one more day of strike would not only harm EVA, but also society,” he said.

On Monday, travel agents called for legal amendments to make it mandatory for workers to give advance notice of a strike.

They also called for changes to the Civil Code’s travel section and the terms of a standard contract between travel agents and travelers that would waive agents’ responsibilities when travelers are affected by incidents not attributable to the agents, including strikes by airline employees and airlines filing for bankruptcy or suspending flights without advance notice.

The Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法) should require airlines to guarantee that they will fulfill the terms of the contracts they sign with travel agents and travelers, just as travel agents do with travelers, they said.

“Both the lawmakers and the executive branch have heard them and we will take their opinions into consideration. From the perspective of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, we think that workers are entitled to exercise their right to strike, but the public damage should be reduced to a minimum. We hope to gather more public input when we review the regulations,” he said.

As an island nation, Taiwan relies heavily on air transportation for connection with other countries, he said, adding that clearer regulations on advance notice of strikes are needed.

EVA management and the union yesterday held a closed-door meeting at Taoyuan’s Monarch Skyline Hotel from 9am to 8pm.

Discussions at the meeting focused on the 27 flight attendants who were marked as absent without leave (AWOL) after joining the strike, the union said in a statement after the meeting.

Both sides agreed that the 27 would not be marked AWOL for now, while an outside panel investigates the matter to determine whether there should be further disciplinary measures, it said.

The company also agreed to gradually reinstate the bonuses and other benefits of the flight attendants who joined the strike, although no details were discussed in the meeting, the union said.

While EVA did not set a date for the next meeting, the union said it hoped the airline would give up on punishing union members and reach an agreement with the group soon.

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