If the strike against EVA Airways is still on tomorrow, more than 100 travel agents from central Taiwan are ready to protest in front of the airline’s headquarters in Taoyuan’s Nankan (南崁) against the company and its striking flight attendants.
The lack of advance notice before the strike began on Thursday gave travel agents almost no time to respond, hurting both travelers and agents, Taipei Association of Travel Agents chairman Wu Chih-chien (吳志健) told a news conference alongside Association of Taichung Travel Agencies chairman Chang Chin-ding (張進丁) and Kaohsiung Association of Travel Agents chairman Wu Ying-liang (吳盈良).
“This administration has touted that it is extremely capable of communicating with the public, and we hope that it can quickly help end the strike,” he said.
Photo: Hsiao Yu-hsin, Taipei Times
“Travel agents are running out of patience and are determined to settle this by taking to the streets,” Wu Chih-chien said.
Wu Ying-liang said that travelers in the central and southern Taiwan had been hurt the most by the strike, which entered its fourth day yesterday, as the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union announced the strike at 2pm on Thursday and began it just two hours later.
“To catch a flight leaving [Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport] at 4pm, travelers in the south need to leave their home at least seven hours before that, as they need to get to a high-speed rail station, take a high-speed rail train and arrive at the airport at least two to three hours early for an international flight,” he said.
“Those from Pingtung or Taitung need to leave 12 hours beforehand, as they have to switch from a Taiwan Railways Administration train to the high-speed rail,” he added.
Chang said that his members have asked the association to take action to express their strong disapproval of the strike.
Should the strike continue, the association would organize a protest at the airline’s headquarters tomorrow, where its members would be joined by travel agents from Yunlin, Changhua, Nantou and Miaoli counties, Chang said.
Wu Chih-chien said that the agents respect the flight attendants’ right to stage a strike, but they ambushed consumers with the strike purely for their own gains.
They strongly criticize such ruthless behavior, he said.
“The Executive Yuan should immediately ask the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to end the strike,” Wu Chih-chien said.
“The nation’s air transportation industry has seen three major strikes, and travelers and travel agents have experienced great losses,” he said.
“How difficult would it be for the government to stipulate that a union should give the public advance notice — at least 15 days before an organized strike — so that consumers and travel agents could respond accordingly?” Wu Chih-chien added.
The strike is essentially a labor dispute, so both the airline and the union should be held accountable for additional costs to travelers and travel agents, he said.
Compensation should be given to independent travelers as well as members of tour groups, he said.
The three men also issued a statement they said had been endorsed by travel agent associations in New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, as well as the Taiwan Association of Travel Agents.
Charlotte Wu (吳筱涵), an attorney recruited by travel agents, said that the Act for Settlement of Labor-Management Disputes (勞資爭議處理法) sets out limits for labor strikes if they involve life and safety of the public and/or major public interests.
Both labor and management must agree to continue providing some basic services to the public, and this principle has applied to workers of power, water and natural gas suppliers, as well as hospitals, she said.
The government should consider requiring any union representing airline workers to give advance notice of a strike to protect the public’s interests and to give consumers time to react, she said.
ATTACKED: The patrol cutter, accompanied by two other vessels, was clearing illegal fishing nets when the fishing boats rammed it. Repairs are expected to cost NT$1.2m Taiwan’s newest Coast Guard Administration (CGA) patrol vessel was damaged after being rammed by Chinese fishing boats near Kinmen County. It was the second confrontation this month in which shots were fired to repel Chinese fishing boats. Chen Chien-wen (陳建文), chief of the coast guard’s Offshore Flotilla No. 9 unit for Kinmen County, said that on Monday a dozen Chinese fishing boats entered Taiwan’s territorial waters near Little Kinmen (小金門), also known as Lieyu (烈嶼), close to the coast of China’s Fujian Province. “We are happy to report that no coast guard personnel were hurt in the incident, but the new CGA
Each local government must implement disease prevention policies based on its own considerations, so they cannot be identical, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday. Her remarks were in response to questions about why Taipei did not follow New Taipei City in closing all public sports centers, activity centers and museums for 14 days, starting on Friday. New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) made the sudden announcement to close those areas at the opening of a public sports center on Thursday to reduce gatherings of people in confined spaces and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as a person confirmed
ADEQUATE COVERAGE: New Taipei City, which has more than 9,500 people under home quarantine, said it would add another 450 rooms at its disease prevention hotels The Taipei City Government has added a fourth designated disease prevention hotel, allowing people under 14-day home quarantine to isolate themselves from NT$5,000 per day, it said yesterday. The Taipei Department of Information and Tourism launched the first disease prevention hotel on Feb. 21 to accommodate travelers without a place to stay during mandatory home isolation or quarantine, and for people who want to separate themselves from their family members or roommates during quarantine. The department said that as of yesterday, more than 120 travelers have stayed at one of the city’s three disease prevention hotels, and their 178 rooms are nearly
MISINFORMATION: The 100,000 masks given to ally Paraguay were bought in other Latin American nations, not made in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan has not yet reached a point where it can export masks to diplomatic allies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, dismissing as misinformation online reports that it gave away masks to curry favor with a diplomatic ally. “Taiwan provides med-ical aid to diplomatic allies based upon specific circumstances,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the supplements donated by Taiwan were all purchased locally in allied countries, in accordance with their needs. “The time is not yet ripe” for Taiwan to export medical supplies, such as surgical masks, to diplomatic allies, until