20,000 passengers affected as China Airlines pilot strike continues

Representatives from 60 trade unions support strikes by pilots of China Airlines in Taipei on Feb 11, 2019. Some of the signs in Chinese say "We Want Flight Safety, Support Strike" and "Pilots Need Rest".
Representatives from 60 trade unions support strikes by pilots of China Airlines in Taipei on Feb 11, 2019. Some of the signs in Chinese say "We Want Flight Safety, Support Strike" and "Pilots Need Rest".PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TAIPEI (XINHUA) - A pilot strike since last Friday (Feb 8) has forced Taiwanese carrier China Airlines to cancel as many as 100 flights, affecting over 20,000 passengers.

Among the flights cancelled are several plying the routes between Taipei and Singapore, and Singapore and Surabaya. Flights from Taiwan to Hong Kong as well as destinations in Europe and the United States are also affected, according to updates posted on the airline's website.

The company and the Pilots Union Taoyuan have reached an initial agreement to improve fatigued flight conditions after nearly 11 hours of negotiation on Wednesday, but the strike will continue until they reach a complete agreement, said Ms Chen Pei-pei, standing director of the union.

The two sides agreed to continue the negotiation on Thursday.

The strike began last Friday after the airline had allegedly ignored the union's request concerning fatigued pilots. Many of the airline's pilots have complained about the long hours on long-distance flights, with pilot representatives demanding additional pilots be deployed for health and flight safety.

More than 600 member pilots of the union have taken part in the strike, according to the union.

The union also requested transparent co-pilot training and promotion, no coercion of union members and replacement of the airline manager in charge of labour relations.