Talks between Taiwan’s China Airlines and pilot union to end strike break down

No new talks scheduled as strike to continue

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Travelers inquiring about the latest China Airlines pilot strike situation Saturday.

Travelers inquiring about the latest China Airlines pilot strike situation Saturday. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Talks between China Airlines (CAL) and the Pilots Union Taoyuan broke down without any consensus after six hours Saturday evening, unable to end the strike which began Friday at 6 a.m. inconveniencing thousands of travelers, many of them heading home at the end of the Lunar New Year holiday.

The key issue in the dispute was pilot fatigue, with the union demanding concessions, while management of Taiwan’s largest carrier said adding staff would increase expenses and affect its competitiveness.

After 9 p.m., the talks, supervised by the Ministry of Transportation and the Taoyuan City Government, broke down without any consensus being reached on any demand by the strikers.

As a result, the strike was due to go into its third day Sunday, the last day of the Lunar New Year vacation, while the negotiators even failed to set a time for the next round of talks.

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

Some observers questioned the absence of CAL Chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan (何煖軒) from the talks, doubting whether company officials present had sufficient authority to reach crucial decisions.

A minor topic, CAL’s insistence that during the strike, normal relations between employer and striking employee were suspended, took two hours to resolve, the Central News Agency reported.

In the meantime, even before the talks broke down, CAL already announced it was canceling several flights scheduled for Sunday. The list included flights to and from a variety of destinations, from Busan and Hong Kong to Vancouver, New York and Brisbane.

The full list is available at this CAL website.