EVA flight attendants demand proper rest time in sit-in protest

Flight attendants of Taiwanese airline EVA Airways on Sunday stage a sit-in protest (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (CNA) -- Flight attendants of Taiwanese airline EVA Airways on Sunday staged a sit-in protest to demand proper rest time between shifts, accusing the carrier of refusing to address the issue of overwork in negotiations with their union since August last year.

The 57-hour sit-in began at 9:30 a.m. in front of the office of Evergreen Marine Corporation, the sister company of EVA Airways, in Taipei.

Starting Jan. 1, Eva Air began considering its flight BR0807,from Taipei to San Francisco, as a three-day assignment, as opposed to a four to five-day shift in the past.

Flight attendants at the protest said that the change in rules has left them with insufficient rest time in the U.S. to cope with fatigue, jet lag, and other effects resulting from flying the long-haul route from Taipei to San Francisco.

As a three-day assignment, flight attendants are given just 28 hours between the completion of the scheduled duty period for the first flight and the commencement of the subsequent duty period for the return flight, including the time needed to go through immigration procedures,travel to the hotel, take a bath, and perform pre-flight duties, the protesters said.

Cheng Ya-ling, leader of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU), said that this is the first time since EVA flight attendants joined the TFAU that they have organized a sit-in protest that will last 57 hours.

She said that they scheduled a 57-hour sit-in protest to signify the long duty period required to fly the BR0807 from Taipei to Francisco before they can take a three-day rest after they complete their duty on the return flight.

The TFAU has demanded that EVA Airways revise the rules to ensure that crew members can be well rested before the beginning of the next duty period, but the management has brushed off the requests in two rounds of negotiation on Dec. 21 last year and Jan. 18, Cheng said.