Flight attendants at Taiwan’s EVA Air have voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay and conditions. Around 90% of the airline’s flight attendants who are represented by the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) backed strike action in a poll that ran between 13th May to 6th June.
At present, the union hasn’t stated if or when a strike might actually take place but the union’s general secretary Cheng Ya-ling was reported as saying that flight attendants could go on strike “at any moment”.
Flight attendants and the airline have been locked in negotiations for some time in an attempt to address two key issues. The union would like to see EVA Air increase the ad diem hourly rate that flight attendants earn during a trip from $3 USD to at least $4.70 an hour – bringing it in line with the ad diem rate that colleagues at China Airlines receive.
Apparently, airline executives have refused this demand and told the union that it is up to them to prove the current rate is not enough. To complicate matters, the TFAU would like to see that increase only extended to union members.
The other part of the dispute concerns nine specific routes that are currently classed as turnarounds but the union would like turned into layover trips because the current duty day runs in excess of 12-hours. The routes in question include flights from Taiwan to Tokyo, Beijing, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City, China’s Harbin and Shenyang, and Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia.
So far, the airline has only agreed to turn one flight – to Tokyo Narita – into a layover but this will only form a six-month experiment starting in November.
Out of the union’s 3,276 members from EVA Air, 2,949 voted in favour of strike action. The results far exceed the minimum mandate of 50% approval that the union would need to legally call a strike.