China Airlines: another strike – Jul 1


China Airlines could be hit by 2nd strike in 8 days


Taipei, June 27 (CNA) The union of China Airlines (CAL), Taiwan’s largest airline company, announced Monday that its members will “go on leave” on July 1 after talks with management earlier in the day failed to reach a conclusion.


It could mean the airline will be hit again by a strike at the start of the summer travel season after a similar action by CAL flight attendants paralyzed most of the airline’s flights on June 24 and 25.


Members of the China Airlines Employee Union, which covers ground staff, pilots, maintenance workers and other China Airlines employees, are seeking some of the similar benefits won by the flight attendants last week.


Two rounds of talks were held in the day between union members and new CAL Chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan (何煖軒) on eight requests, which include restoring the long-frozen annual seniority-based raises and recovering years accrued during the seniority freeze.


The union also demands the commuting hours of all CAL employees be included in the calculation of their work hours, the travel allowance for all pilots and cabin crew members be raised to US$5 per hour, the subsidy for ground staff members be adjusted higher, and the number of annual holidays be increased from 118 days to 123.


Other requests include raising the welfare benefits and other remuneration for hourly-paid workers, raising the subsidy for professional certificates, and providing lodging and transportation to those employees assigned to work in a foreign country while maintaining their subsidy.


The negotiations broke down after Ho asked the union to allow him to respond to the requests in two weeks’ time, but was rejected.


Ho said he could not make any decision today because “it’s the first time (I) have seen the requests.”


He was unable to make any promises while he has little knowledge of CAL’s wage structure, Ho argued, asking for more time for him to study the appeals.


Ho was appointed by Premier Lin Chuan (林全) June 23 to replace Sun Hung-hsiang (孫洪祥) as CAL chairman amid a dispute between the company and the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union over work regulations and other issues.


CAL was founded by with government funds in 1959 and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications remains a major shareholder.


Under Ho’s leadership, all requests from the flight attendants union, which launched the June 24-25 strike, were answered without conditions.


The requests include withdrawing the regulation requiring flight attendants to report for duty at the Taoyuan International Airport, instead of at Songshan Airport in Taipei.


The protesting CAL flight attendants took issue with the decision, saying that it adds to their work hours, without any commensurate pay, since it takes about 50 minutes to commute from Taipei and Taoyuan.


The compromise, however, triggered a domino effect, with other employees of the air carrier wanting similar terms.


On Monday, the Employee Union of Mandarin Airlines, CAL’s subsidiary, also threatened to take strike action if the company fails to answer its demand for the same wages and subsidies for its flight attendants as those received by CAL’s.


A strike would be held on June 7 if the company refuses to respond to their demands, the union said.