China Airlines executives, pilots to meet for discussion at 3 p.m. Saturday

CEO Hsieh Shih-chien has agreed to listen to strikers' demands

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Taoyuan Pilots Union began striking at 6 a.m. Friday morning

Taoyuan Pilots Union began striking at 6 a.m. Friday morning (By Central News Agency)

Update: Both China Airlines and Taoyuan Pilots Union have agreed to attend a joint discussion at 3 p.m. Saturday instead of the originally reported time of 4 p.m. Friday.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Transportation and Communications minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) invited representatives from China Airlines and Taoyuan Pilots Union to a conference at the ministry at 4 p.m today, which has now been moved to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Pilots Union Standing Director Chen Pei-pei (陳蓓蓓) thanked the Ministry of Transportation and Communication for its efforts, and agreed to attend the meeting on the condition that China Airlines shows it is willing to sincerely engage with the strikers. China Airlines CEO Hsieh Shih-chien (謝世謙) has announced his attendance and promised to listen to demands.

Any mediation of labor disputes should be done with respect to both passenger rights and interests, and aviation safety, said Lin.

China Airlines pilots began striking unannounced at 6 a.m. Friday morning, following almost a year of demands for the company to offer better pay, more rest hours and greater pilot autonomy. 25 flights to and from Taiwan between Feb. 8 and Feb 10. have been canceled (at publication time) as a result.

Lin commented that while pilots are legally permitted to exercise their right to strike, doing so in the midst of the Lunar New Year holidays causes a significant inconvenience for passengers, and may blur the focus of the strike. It may therefore be more difficult to arouse the public’s support, he added.

The ministry has reportedly instructed Taoyuan International Airport and the Civil Aeronautics Administration to carefully manage China Airlines flight schedule information. It has requested priority be given to those returning to Taiwan, and for relevant bodies to look into the feasibility of compensating inconvenienced passengers.

Arrangements are being made through the government to accommodate group travelers temporarily stranded abroad. The Tourism Bureau has notified relevant travel agencies of the situation, who are reminding passengers not to wait at the airport.

Information about flight cancellations can be found in English on the China Airlines website here.