Taiwan's EVA Air refuses to accept union’s demands

EVA Air union will vote on strike in May as negotiations fell through

EVA AIR A330-200

EVA AIR A330-200 (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – After a series of negotiations between EVA Airways Corp. and the airline’s flight attendants union fell through, the union decided on Thursday (April 25) to hold a strike vote starting on May 13. If the yay votes reach 2,800, the union will carry out a strike.

The union's demands include safeguarding flight crews' rest time over long or continuous flights, overtime pay, higher per diem allowance, more annual leave for union members, a fair process to appeal disciplinary actions, and adding labor representatives to the board.

In an open letter released on Thursday (April 24), EVA Air’s chairman Lin Pao-shui (林寶水) refused to compromise on the "anti-free-rider" clause that prohibits the employer from adjusting working conditions for workers who are not the members of the union demanding changes. The clause was designed to encourage union membership and give weight to the union's bargaining strength.

It also prevents nonunion workers from "free riding," or benefiting from union negotiations without paying their fair share.

Lin said the practice will break the company's tradition of equal treatment and therefore harm its managing philosophy. "I cannot agree with the anti-free-rider clause that pits employees against each other, sacrificing the majority's rights to benefit certain employees," said Lin, claiming that the clause will decrease flight safety and service quality.

Some accused Lin of trying to gain public sympathy by shifting attention away from the daunting flight schedule and low wages to the clause.