Strike drags on, more Eva Air flights axed

Eva Air flight attendants and their families at an event in Taipei on Tuesday to gather support for the strike, which started on June 20, over working conditions and wages. PHOTO: REUTERS
Eva Air flight attendants and their families at an event in Taipei on Tuesday to gather support for the strike, which started on June 20, over working conditions and wages. PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI • Taiwan's Eva Airways has cancelled 550 more flights scheduled through the middle of this month as a cabin crew strike entered its 14th day yesterday, after the latest negotiations on working conditions and wages broke down this week.

Flight attendants at the Taiwanese airline went on strike on June 20 after a months-long discussion with the management yielded no results, disrupting over 2,000 flights and impacting about 405,000 passengers.

The strike, the longest in the aviation history of Taiwan, where labour unrest is uncommon, has led Eva Air to estimate a revenue loss of about NT$1.75 billion (S$76 million).

"The company is still delaying. We urge them to put down their prejudices and sign an agreement with us as soon as possible," Ms Judy Hsiao, a media liaison officer for the union, said after an 11-hour-long talk with the airline broke down on Tuesday.

There was no indication of any resolution early yesterday, with a union representing Eva Air flight attendants urging the firm to come back to the negotiation table, saying no renewed contact between the parties had been initiated.

Eva Air said it had no comment when contacted by Reuters.

In a statement late on Tuesday, Eva Air said it had reached "some initial agreements" with the union and that "the company's door is always open for flight attendants to come home".

 
 
 

On Tuesday evening, the union said over 1,000 flight attendants and supporters joined a rally in front of Taiwan's presidential office, calling President Tsai Ing-wen to address what it sees as an "autocratic and authoritarian" management.

Over 2,000 flight attendants from Eva Air's all-female cabin crew force have been taking turns to join demonstrations outside the firm's headquarters near Taoyuan International Airport since June 20. The protests have been marked by signs, speeches and, at times, scuffles between cabin crew and airline representatives.

Eva Air has filed several lawsuits against the union since the strike began, including asking for a daily compensation of NT$34 million for what it sees as an "illegal strike".

Pilots at rival China Airlines went on strike in February, leading to 122 flight cancellations and NT$220 million in lost revenue.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2019, with the headline 'Strike drags on, more Eva Air flights axed'. Print Edition | Subscribe