Eva Air strike extended – now Taiwan’s longest strike in aviation history

Eva Air ©AirTeamImages

Eva Air Corporation (Eva Air) has been forced to cancel a further 550 flights after negotiations to end the cabin crew strike, which began on June 20, broke down. Including the latest cancelations, it is estimated the strike will have cost the carrier in the region of US$56 million and will have affected 2,000 flights and roughly 405,000 passengers.

The current strike involves the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union and approximately 6,000 flight attendants operating in the region, of which 2,949 work for Eva Air. The strike relates primarily to improved working conditions and an increase in pay. Currently flight attendants working for other carriers, like Taiwan’s China Airlines, earn US$1.70 an hour more than those working for Eva Air. While the union has come to agreement with the carrier over most points and has shown a willingness to call off the strike, the major stumbling block would now appear to be Eva Air’s refusal to confirm it will no longer take penalising action against striking staff after they return to work. The airline has confirmed that it would not: “punish any grassroots employees for going on strike if their action abided by the law.” However there seems to be a dispute concerning those flight attendants Eva Air feel have not abided by the law.

Eva Air has threatened to freeze annual wages, suspend bonus payments and withdraw the offer of discounted flights to anyone involved in the strike. The carrier has also filed several lawsuits against the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union since the strike began, including one demanding daily compensation of US$1 million for what it deems an “illegal strike”. “The company is still delaying. We urge them to put down their prejudices and sign an agreement with us as soon as possible,” Judy Hsiao, a union media liaison officer said after the 11-hour long talk with Eva Air broke down on Tuesday.

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