TAIPEI - The first-ever strike by flight attendants in Taiwan has ended after two days of stoppage that saw almost 200 flights cancelled and about 30,000 passengers stranded, media reports said on Sunday (June 26).
China Airlines (CAL) will resume 80 to 90 per cent of flights scheduled for Sunday (June 26) before fully restoring regular flight service at midnight on Monday, the reports said.
CAL was forced to cancel 55 of 81 scheduled flights on Saturday, on top of 122 on Thursday and Friday, after the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union which represents 2,500 CAL flights attendants started the protest on Thursday, Central News Agency reported.
Hundreds of flight attendants staged a sit-in outside the firm’s office in Taipei, protesting a new requirement that they report for work in Taoyuan – on the outskirts of Taipei – rather than downtown Songshan airport, Agence France-Presse reported.
Some 30,000 passengers at the two airports and abroad were affected by the stoppage.
The protest came to an end late Friday after new CAL management agreed to all seven demands raised by the union, including increasing overseas flight subsidy from US$2 (S$2.70) per hour to US$5 and annual rest days from 118 to 123, CNA said.
“After a marathon negotiation of four and a half hours, we got a good deal,” Chao Kang, the head of the Taoyuan Flight Attendant Union said according to AFP. The strikers, many in tears, chanted: “Victory for flight attendants”.
But the Taoyuan airport was overrun with backlog on Saturday morning, China Post reported. Many passengers lashed out at flight attendants, accusing them of being selfish for demanding extra leave in the wake of the strike, while CAL ground staff members complained about bearing the brunt of the backlash from passengers.
In a meeting with representatives of the Travel Agent Association of the Republic of China, CAL chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan was quoted by China Post as saying that 80 to 90 per cent of flights on Sunday would take off as scheduled, before the company resumes normal operations on Monday.
The company suffered daily losses of some NT$280 million during the strike, he said, and would have to set aside an additional NT$200 million annually to meet the union's demands.
The travel agent association estimated at least 400 tourist groups were affected by the strike, and estimated losses to total nearly NT$50 million (S$2 million).