Taiwan’s pilot union obtains right to strike, negotiations continue

Talks between pilots union and China Airlines, EVA Air continue over pay and conditions

Talks between pilot union, China Airlines on Aug. 22.

Talks between pilot union, China Airlines on Aug. 22. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan's pilot union has obtained the legal right to strike, as talks continue between Taiwan's two main airlines and pilots, CNA reported on Aug. 23.

Taiwan's EVA Air and China Airlines are currently in talks with the pilots union about concerns over pay and conditions. Recent media reports suggest that while China Airlines has reached some common ground with the union, there is still some way to go with EVA Air.

The pilots union first threatened to strike on Aug. 8, following unsuccessful negations with Taiwan's two largest airlines over pay and conditions. The union's primary grievance is in regards to time off, how days off are defined, and the management style of the two airlines.

China Airlines management reached common ground with the pilots during their third meeting on Aug. 23, media reports say. They are believed to have agreed on how flight data should be collected and used in performance evaluation, and the airline pledged to not make any changes to pay, conditions or work time before consulting the union in the future.

Union leader and China Airlines Pilot, Chen Hsiang-lin (陳祥麟) told CNA that the breakthrough in negations has led to the pilots from this airline cooling their plans to strike. Chen added that they were unhappy with the slow pace of negotiations, and they are uncertain if China Airlines is negotiating in good faith.

On the other hand, the pilots union is less happy in their negotiations with EVA Air, with the union giving the airline the weekend to come up with some meaningful solutions to their grievances.

The pilot union told reporters that they are unhappy with the slow pace of negotiations, and lack of agreement from three rounds of talks. The third meeting on Aug. 22 prematurely ended because the union felt EVA Air was unprepared for discussions, reported CNA.

In response to the failed talks, the union has not ruled out a strike in the future, and is holding out for the outcome of future talks.

The date of a potential strike is unclear, even after the union received the legal go-ahead. The union first said on Aug. 8 they would announce a strike date on Aug. 20, but that date was postponed to allow for talks, and no additional information has come to light.

Taiwan's Minister of Transport and Communications, Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀) said that both pilots and their respective airlines are significant parts of the community, and he hopes that both parties can communicate rationally, to create a win-win outcome.