Is Tawianese airline EVA Air trying to suggest that it’s own flight attendants could sabotage a flight or carry out other “malicious action” against passengers and crew? That certainly seems to be the case and it comes just as the Taipei-based airline fully resumes normal operations after the longest strike by cabin crew in the airline’s history.
In a short statement, the airline said it was “reinforcing preventive measures to ensure every passenger’s flight safety” because of “threatened malicious actions that have made passengers anxious about flying” with EVA Air. The airline called out members of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union who led the strike in a bitter dispute over pay and conditions for making the threats.
The allegations include:
- A threat not to close cabin doors properly
- Tampering with inflight meals for passengers and crew
- Bullying crew members who didn’t take part in the strike
It’s believed that EVA Air sacked the leader of the union earlier this month after she made several jokes that she claims were misinterpreted as threats. Kuo Chi-yen is alleged to have threated to “add something” to flight crew meals for anyone who crossed the picket line and helped break the strike.
In another comment, Kuo was alleged to have said she would “pummel” strike-breaking flight attendants. She argued that the comments were made in response to excessive criticism of the union but EVA Air reported her to police on suspicion of breaching the Civil Aviation Act.
The union called a strike on the 20th June in a dispute over pay and working conditions after failing to reach an agreement with the airline. The two-sides eventually negotiated a deal on the 7th July but it wasn’t until yesterday that EVA Air was able to fully restore normal operations.
Along with improvements to pay and conditions, the airline has agreed not to take action against the union or any flight attendants who took part in the strike. In return, the union says it will abide by a multi-year moratorium on any further strike action.
“EVA suffered tremendous revenue loss and damage to its reputation from the labour action launched by the external trade union,” the airline said in a statement.
EVA Air responds to threats…
“Unfounded rumours are circulating that flight attendants who stayed with the strike from beginning to end will take revenge on those who returned to work before the action was over by not closing cabin doors properly. EVA is encouraging flight attendants to stop these rumours and ensuring that everyone involved in-flight safety follows proper procedures for operating these doors.”
In response to rumours of food tampering the airline explained:
“Misconduct involving deliberate food contamination would seriously endanger the flight safety record and service quality reputation that EVA and thousands of employees have worked very hard to build over the past 30 years.
If such an incident did occur, EVA would investigate and, depending on findings, take appropriate disciplinary actions against those responsible for the malicious acts.”
Measures are also being put in place to prevent workplace bullying, although EVA Air has not detailed exactly what processes will be implemented. News reports out of Taiwan now also suggest that the U.S. Department of Transport is also asking for reassurances of food safety at the airline and has requested an official response from the airline.