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China Airlines addresses potential pilot strike at press conference

Seven representatives answered media questions about strikes Monday afternoon

It is not yet known if a strike will take place

It is not yet known if a strike will take place (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China Airlines president Hsieh Shih-chien (謝世謙) led a press conference of seven company representatives Monday afternoon regarding disagreements over working conditions with the Pilot’s Union.

Taoyuan International Airport’s Pilot’s Union announced a potential Lunar New Year strike earlier this month. China Airlines said the company cannot know if it will go ahead or not.

Hsieh said if a strike does happen, China Airlines cannot guarantee it will definitely transport passengers to their destinations on time, but will undertake appropriate measures and make its best effort to see all reach their destinations.

Hsieh also mentioned that the union launched 21 labor disputes last year, five of which have been resolved. The other issues were left to be dealt with in further talks.

Pilots have claimed they were repeatedly “provoked” by China Airlines to sign documents nullifying their decision to strike. The airline then accused the union of sabotaging negotiations and urged pilots to put the concerns of their passengers first.

China Airlines claims their pilots continue to be paid well and not only receive competitive monthly salaries (compared to rival airlines) of NT$340,000 minimum, but a wealth of other benefits including an aviation safety bonus and sufficient vacation time.

Hsieh said being a China Airlines pilot is a high-paying and widely-envied career, and the industry is generally considered a happy and fair one by the public. There are, of course, difficult areas of work, but employees are the company’s most valued asset, he added.

The president expressed hope both sides could sit down and resolve lingering issues.