Taiwan’s largest airline, EVA Air has finally managed to hammer out a deal with cabin crew that will bring an end a crippling strike over pay and working conditions at the carrier. On Saturday, the two sides finally shook hands on an agreement after four hours of talks that were mediated by the Department of Labour.
However, EVA Air has cautioned that disruption is expected to continue in too late July.
In fact, cabin crew aren’t even expected to return to work until 10th July even though the official 17-day-long strike has come to an end. The union that represents EVA Air’s all-female cabin crew workforce said it would take three days to return travel documents that had been collected by officials at the start of the strike.
The Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union also wanted to give crew time to rest after daily protests outside the headquarters of EVA Air’s parent company, the Evergreen Corporation. As it stands, EVA Air has cancelled dozens of flights through 10th July and beyond.
There had been hopes that the strike would come to an end last weekend but a deal fell through at the last minute despite many cabin crew voting in favour of returning to work. The new deal addresses three main concerns of cabin crew:
- Trip Bonuses – instead of an increase in hourly Ad Diem payments, cabin crew will instead receive a payment of $10 USD for short-haul flights and $16 per long-haul trip.
- More layovers – EVA Air has agreed to add a layover on trips between Taiwan and Tokyo, as well as between Taiwan and Beijing during April and between June to August.
- Increased recognition of the union – The airline will now hold regular meetings with union officials and other staffers, and will also give union members paid time to carry out their duties.
In return, the union has agreed that no further strike action can take place for at least three years and it has dropped its demand that improvements to working conditions only apply to union members.
While the deal isn’t nearly as generous as the TFU had originally hoped, it’s widely recognised that the agreement will improve pay and conditions for cabin crew at the airline. In addition, EVA Air has also agreed to hire male cabin crew for the first time in its history – no timeline has yet been given for this change, although it’s likely that the airline will initially draw male cabin crew from internal transfers.
The bitter dispute led to EVA Air threatening to take legal action against the union and threats of reducing cabin crew pay if the airline took a financial hit from the strike action. The new deal has secured an agreement that EVA Air won’t retaliate against the union or cabin crew.
Last week, the union came under fire for delaying the return of travel documents to cabin crew who wanted to return to work.