EVA Airways pilots could go on strike during the Lunar New Year holiday this year if the airline refuses to grant their demand for a structural pay raise, the Taoyuan Union of Pilots said yesterday.
The union, made up of pilots from China Airlines, EVA and other Taiwanese airlines, yesterday protested outside the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in Taipei, accusing EVA of compromising aviation safety by cutting personnel costs.
EVA Airways pilots who belong to the union would on Friday start voting on whether they want to strike, the union said, adding the voting would end on Jan. 5.
“We have 660 members who are EVA Airways pilots. They would have the right to organize a strike if more than 50 percent agree to such action. Our goal is that more than 90 percent of the pilots will vote yes,” union researcher Chen Po-chien (陳柏謙) said.
“The union’s board members and supervisors have discussed when the strike would take place, but it all depends on the results of negotiations between the airline and the union. We would let the public know in advance when the strike would happen, whether it is one week, three days or the day before the strike,” Chen said.
EVA pilots are demanding that the airline give them a 20 percent pay increase, and that their hotel allowance be raised from US$3.3 per hour to US$6 per hour.
They said that their salaries have only increased 1.5 to 2 percent in the past 10 years, and they were forced to accept a pay freeze in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, with each of them losing out on NT$1.3 million (US$ 41,515).
Because of the reduction in personnel costs, the airline has lost 10 percent of its Taiwanese pilots, they said, adding that it then hired poorly qualified foreign pilots to address its pilot shortage.
However, the airline said that it has adjusted its pilots’ salaries almost every year from 2015, with each EVA pilot getting a raise of NT$5,000 every year.
The only exception was in 2021, when the company incurred financial losses due to the pandemic, EVA said.
The airline also said that it had implemented structural wage adjustments in 2016 and this year and offered a series of benefits in 2018 following negotiations with the union.
If a pilot was promoted to captain in 2015, by this year, their monthly salary would have risen by NT$100,000, it said.
“Saying that the airline has not given pilots a pay raise for 10 years and even asked them to accept a pay cut is simply not true,” the airline said.
In response to EVA’s statement, the union said that the company’s alleged structural pay raise did not take into account pilots’ seniority or inflation.
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