Taiwan's China Airlines makes some tentative concessions to pilots

During 'red eye negotiations' CAL makes a few tentative concessions to striking pilots

  4345

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- In the third round of negotiations between striking pilots and China Airlines (CAL) management, which started at 1 a.m. this morning, the air carrier has made some concessions to the pilots' demand to take measures to reduce fatigue on long flights.

As the pilot strike led by the Pilots Union Taoyuan entered its sixth day, a third round of talks resumed between the union and CAL at 1 a.m. and continued well into the morning. After seven hours of grueling "red eye negotiations," progress seemed to be made on the first of the pilots' five demands -- fatigue.

CAL President Hsieh Shih-chien (謝世謙) conceded to the pilots' demand to have three pilots onboard for flights lasting longer than 8 hours and four pilots for flights lasting longer than 12 hours. The union then pushed to also include three pilots on flights between seven and eight hours, but this was met with resistance by CAL.

However, as the negotiations wore on in the early morning hours today, the union instead focused on 10 particularly tiring routes. After more talks, Hsieh agreed to allow an extra pilot or other measures to avoid fatigue on five of the routes listed.


Fatigue starts to show during long hours of negotiations. (CNA image)

The five long routes agreed to by CAL included the flight between Anchorage and New York, and long-haul flights from Palau, Xi'an, Chongqing, and Guam.

The following are the routes CAL has agreed to take measures to ameliorate fatigue:

1. The inland Anchorage to New York route will include three pilots.

2. The Chongqing red eye cargo route will have four pilots and on the return trip will have a normal rest period.

3. Xi'an route to have three pilots.

4. Palau route to have three pilots

5. Guam route to still only have two pilots, but will be provided housing in Guam.


Deputy Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) (left), speaking with Hsieh (right). (CNA image)

The striking pilots have the following demands:

  1. Additional pilots to be present on longer flights in order to prevent fatigue
  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

Since the strike began at 6 a.m. on Feb. 8, more than 600 pilots have taken part and CAL has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights, affecting over 20,000 passengers.