Taiwan's largest airline faces possible second strike

More trouble is brewing for China Airlines (CAL), as Taiwan's biggest airline braces itself for a second possible strike in a week.

This time round, the China Airlines Employees Union, comprising pilots, maintenance crew and ground staff, has urged its members to "go on leave" on Friday to protest against the airline's failure to meet their demands for better pay and work conditions.

The union said its members will go on mass leave after talks with the airline's management, including its chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan, broke down yesterday. The impasse follows the first industrial action by cabin crew in Taiwan's aviation history last Friday.

Hundreds of CAL cabin crew walked off the job to protest against changes in work conditions and fewer than desired leave days.

The one-day strike ended only after CAL management agreed to meet demands of the cabin crew, which include a higher overseas allowance.

The fallout forced the airline to ground more than 120 flights, leaving 30,000 passengers stranded in Taipei.

CAL also racked up a loss of about NT$500 million (S$21 million) in refunds and compensation.

Union members, led by president Ko Tso-liang, are now demanding CAL management give them similar benefits to those the cabin crew managed to get, including better overseas allowances for pilots and higher benefits for hourly-rated workers.

"Since the flight attendants managed to get rather good welfare benefits, we thought we should also do the same," Mr Ko said. "It's not the only way to settle disputes... but we are not opposed to doing it."

Mr Ho told reporters yesterday the company would look at the union's requests but would not give in to "unreasonable" demands.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2016, with the headline 'Taiwan's largest airline faces possible second strike'. Print Edition | Subscribe