Striking EVA Air flight attendant jumps ship to join Taiwanese rival Starlux

Striking EVA Air flight attendant caught jumping ship to join rival Taiwanese airline Starlux

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Chang (center) with four flight attendants. (Photo from TFAU Facebook page)

Chang (center) with four flight attendants. (Photo from TFAU Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- An EVA Air (長榮航空) flight attendant who had been taking part in a strike with her coworkers, has been found to have switched jobs to join upstart rival Starlux Airlines (星宇航空).

On Sunday (June 23), Liao Yi-chin (廖以勤) director of the Taoyuan Flight Attendant’s Union (TFAU), stood with four EVA Air flight attendants and bowed to offer their apologies for inconveniencing passengers during the strike. However, sharp-eyed netizens noticed that the flight attendant wearing glasses had already been hired as a Starlux Airlines flight attendant.

StarLux spokesman Nieh Kuo-wei (聶國維) said it was an individual act, and he hoped that the new recruit would understand that there will also be hardships when working for the new carrier, reported ETtoday. Starlux confirmed that the new flight attendant is scheduled to start working for the airline on July 1, while EVA Air acknowledged that the crew member had resigned on Wednesday (June 26), according to the report.

Regarding the TFAU's desire to participate in corporate governance, Nieh said that Starlux would not agree to this. Following the leadership style of StarLux Chairman Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒), Nieh said that senior-level management will go to the front lines to communicate and discuss matters with flight attendants, crew members, the captain, and other personnel, so as to eliminate unnecessary misunderstandings among employees.

Chang, the son of Evergreen Group (長榮集團) founder Chang Yung-fa (張榮發) and his second wife, was ousted from the group and from EVA after the elder Chang’s death in January 2016. In May of last year, Chang chaired an official news conference to mark the registration of Starlux and expanded on his plans for the company’s first decade, including service to Southeast Asia, Japan, and the west coast of the U.S.

Regarding the scope of the per diem allowance, one of the sticking points of the strike, Nieh said that Starlux would follow the daily expenditure method used by other airlines to set salary standards. When asked if the airline would first check if prospective employees were members of TFAU, Nieh said that it is not in the scope of Starlux's considerations.

He said that is because there are many union members and they cannot ask each applicant one by one and it could lead to unnecessary misunderstandings. Nieh said that the most important thing is enthusiasm about the service industry, the work will be very hard, and those who are able to work with Starlux as a partner are welcome.

Starlux announced in January that it would begin recruiting flight attendants. After a rigorous review process, only 120 applicants were accepted.

On July 1, 48 new flight attendants will report for duty at the fledgling airline. Nieh said that the recruitment process focussed on professional skills and the service process.

In the future, Starlux will fly short-distance routes to destinations in Southeast Asia. Nieh emphasized that the work will be relatively arduous, this has already been explained to the candidates, and there will be two or three months of follow-up training and examinations.