EVA Air, union reach agreement; strike to end July 10 (update)

2019/07/06 21:55:15 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, July 6 (CNA) EVA Airways and the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) signed an agreement Saturday to define future labor- management relations, with the ongoing strike set to end July 10.

The union said it will take three days to return its members' essential working documents, including their passports, Mainland Travel Permits for Taiwan Residents, and EVA Air employee identification cards -- which flight attendants handed over to the union when the strike began.

"After 17 days of strike, the cabin crew also need a good rest before they can go back to work," explained TFAU Deputy Secretary- General Chou Sheng-kai (周聖凱).

The two sides reached a consensus that day after a four-hour meeting mediated by the Ministry of Labor.

EVA Air said flight operations are expected to return to normal by the end of July, but with further adjustments likely in August, depending upon workforce supply and passenger demand.

According to the airline, the two sides agreed that the union will not stage another walkout within three years and that future strikes should spare domestic flights.

EVA Air said it will not retaliate against the union, as long as its actions during the strike were lawful.

The carrier said it will pay a NT$300 (US$10) on-duty bonus for flight attendants working short haul and NT$500 for overseas routes.

In addition, in the October-March period, flight attendants working flights including BR184 and BR198 on the Taoyuan-Tokyo Narita route, and BR108 on the Kaohsiung-Tokyo route, will be allowed to rest overnight rather than having to work both legs of a round-trip flight on the same day.

Flight attendants working BR716 on the Taoyuan-Beijing route will be allowed to rest overnight in April and in the June-August period.

The airline will hold regular labor-management meetings, while five senior flight attendant instructors will be selected by airline staff to attend staff evaluations on a rotational basis.

Finally, airline union managing supervisors will be given 25 days of annual leave to manage union affairs, while the airline will adjust work schedules when the TFAU holds its annual general assembly.

Neither EVA Air nor the union gave specific comments on the core issue of how they agreed to handle an announcement EVA made May 8, which the union described as management making another attempt at retaliation.

At that time, the airline said that if a strike hurts its profitability and causes financial losses, the company would freeze annual wage increases and suspend year-end bonuses for all of its employees, as well as stop offering discount air fares to striking flight attendants and their families for three years.

Union official Lee Ying (李瀅) said in a post-meeting press conference that the company will "restore the benefits of affected flight attendants in a timely manner."

The strike between June 20 and Saturday led to the cancellation of 1,439 EVA Air flights, affecting 278,420 passengers, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

The airline had accumulated an operating loss of nearly NT$2.8 billion as of Saturday.

On the issue of whether a union should give strike notice, Labor Minister Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) said that all parties concerned will be invited to review the Act for Settlement of Labor-Management Disputes for possible adjustments.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)
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