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First airline pilot strike in Taiwan's history could soon affect 5,000 passengers

Taiwan's China Airlines pilot strike continues for second day, talks scheduled

Closed ticket counters.

Closed ticket counters. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A strike by pilots of Taiwan's China Airlines (CAL) has entered its second day, the first such strike by pilots in Taiwan's history, with 3,000 passengers already affected and 2,000 more to soon feel the impact.

At 6 a.m. Friday morning, the CAL division of the Taoyuan Pilots Union began a strike, resulting in the cancellation of 25 flights between Feb. 8 and Feb 10, affecting 3,000 passengers. If the strike continues, the number of affected passengers could soon exceed 5,000, according to an estimate by Apple Daily.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications will host a negotiation session at 3 p.m. today between CAL and the Taoyuan Union of Pilots to try and hash out their differences.

According to statistics by the Civil Aeronautics Administration, there are 1,336 pilots working for air carriers in Taiwan, including 1,209 Taiwanese and 127 foreign nationals. When the strike first began on Friday morning, the union had received 100 flight certificates from CAL pilots, and by that evening, 320 pilots had deposited their certificates.

The union represents 900 of CAL's pilots, or about 70 percent. On Aug. 7 last year, 99 percent of union members voted for a strike, however it was staved off at the time through negotiations.

Despite the strike, CAL claims that it is still operating at 90 percent capacity.

The striking pilots have the following demands:

  1. Additional pilots to be present on longer flights
  2. Make training programs and promotion tracks for copilots more transparent
  3. Prohibit the penalizing of union members for union activities
  4. Dismiss managers who harm employer-employee relations
  5. Guarantee full year-end bonus packages for employees

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