Flight attendants at Taiwans’s EVA Air will start strike action today after last ditch mediation talks broke down. So far only eight flights have been cancelled although it’s likely that the action could quickly escalate.
Just over a week a go, I wrote about how over 90% of cabin crew represented by the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) had voted in favour of strike action in a long running dispute over pay and conditions.
At the time, the union didn’t specify a date for any possible strike but said they could call on their members at any time.
The airline appears to have taken a particularly hard line, telling flight attendants that it is up to them to prove that their current pay isn’t enough.
At the core of the dispute is a demand for hourly ad diem payments to be increased from $3 USD to at least $4.70 an hour. That would bring EVA Air flight attendants in line with what their colleagues at China Airlines earn.
Also in dispute is a demand to turn certain ‘there and back’ trips into layovers where flight attendants would spend a night in a hotel before returning to Taiwan.
There are nine routes where flight attendants currently work in excess is of 12-hour day’s on turnaround trips.
EVA Air has agreed to experiment with layovers on a couple of these routes but that doesn’t go far enough for the flight attendant union.
In a statement posted to the airline’s Facebook page, EVA Air said:
“The Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) is initiating a strike against EVA Air, starting from 4 p.m. on 20 Jun 2019. This untimely labor action will significantly impact and inconvenience our passengers, our flight attendants’ fellow employees and the travel industry.
EVA has deployed an emergency response team and is making every effort to mobilize all our resources. We are working closely with concerned authorities, fellow airlines and travel agencies to arrange alternative flights for passengers and doing all we can to reduce delays in their travels.
EVA is fully aware of passengers’ concerns about the strike’s impact on their journeys.”
The strike comes just a day after EVA Air declared itself as a Five Star airline for the fourth year in a row.
The strike will begin at 4pm today (local time) and flight attendants are expected to protest outside the headquarters of EVA Air’s parent company, Evergreen Corp in Taipei.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.