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Taiwan’s China Airlines pilots consider action during Lunar New Year holiday

Pilots want management to respond to fatigue complaints

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China Airlines pilots are considering a strike.

China Airlines pilots are considering a strike. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A pilot union at China Airlines (CAL) said Friday it could not rule out taking action during the Lunar New Year holiday unless management responded to complaints about fatigue.

An impromptu meeting by a professional pilots union Friday approved a motion to restart the procedure for a strike, but the action would only apply to CAL, the nation’s largest carrier, the Central News Agency reported.

Last year, negotiations between unions and airlines following the approval of eventual strikes reached a partial consensus, but some issues were left to resolve by further talks within a year.

Since then, CAL repeatedly ‘provoked’ the pilots by demanding them to sign documents which would nullify the strike decision, according to a union statement Friday.

In its response, the airline accused the union of being the side sabotaging the negotiations. CAL called on the pilots to put the rights of passengers first, and to conduct realistic talks with management.

The carrier said its handling of the fatigue issue conformed to international regulations, but it was willing to look further into the problem, CNA reported.

The nine-day Lunar New Year holiday period, starting Saturday, is one of the busiest time of the year for domestic and international travel by the Taiwanese public. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport expected the number of passengers arriving or departing Friday to reach a one-day record of 149,368.