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Violence breaks out as FAT workers protest

Employees from Far Eastern Air Transport call on government to save troubled company

Far Eastern Air Transport employees scuffle with the police during a protest in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday. Protesters urge ...

Far Eastern Air Transport employees scuffle with the police during a protest in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday. Protesters urge ...

A serious physical clash broke out yesterday when hundreds of employees from Far Eastern Air Transport took to the streets in Taipei to urge the government to save the cash-strapped company.
Protesters had serious physical jostles with the police when they staged a protest on the Ketagalan Boulevard to call on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to help them.
"What have I done wrong? I've been working really hard for the company for the past 20 years; I have to raise my kids. Why doesn't the government come out and save us?" a female protester said while wiping away her tears.
More than 500 FAT employees staged a protest yesterday in front of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in the morning, marching along major Taipei City roads, before stopping at the boulevard.
Unpaid salaries
Raising banners that said "the government should come out to save Far Eastern Air Transport," and "we want a good economy," protesters said they have not had their salary from the company for two months, and some of them said they have not been paid for four months.
Air Hostesses, dressed in airline uniforms, went on their knees during the protest.
Protesters called on the government to step into the company's operation, and to help look for reliable investors to bring the dying company back to life.
The protesters remained in a calm state when protesting in front of the MOTC, but when they staged the protest before the Presidential Office and saw a motorcade running toward the office, demonstrators shouted "Ma Ying-jeou, come out," and had physical jostles with the police.
Police warning
The police raised barriers to stop protesters from running near the office, and warned the protesters that they would be arrested if they kept marching forward.
Chang Chiu-chun, an MOTC official, arrived at the protest venue and tried to calm the protesters down. Chang said the government will set up a dialogue window to negotiate with the FAT labor union in the immediate future. The protest ended at around 5 p.m.
FAT had a serious financial crises more than three months ago; it filed for corporate restructuring with the Taipei District Court in February, which makes it temporarily exempt from paying its debts. The airline announced that it would suspend all its flight operations in the middle of last month.
The Civil Aeronautics Administration took back five of the domestic routes from the company, and will take back its international air routes if the company fails to revive its financial operation before June 15.


Updated : 2021-04-18 17:25 GMT+08:00