More than 850 flights cancelled as EVA Air attendants go on strike

TAIPEI — A strike by flight attendants at EVA Air, Taiwan’s second-largest airline, has left thousands of passengers scrambling for alternative transport.

According to the latest reports some 852 flights have been cancelled up until June 28.

About 100 union members staged a sit-in outside the airline’s suburban Taipei headquarters on June 20 to press their demands.

“I urge EVA Air to solve our problems and take care of our demands,” union member Chao Chieh-huan said.

On its Twitter feed, the airline said it was “working closely with concerned authorities, fellow airlines, and travel agencies to arrange alternative flights for passengers and doing all we can to reduce delays.”

“This untimely labour action will significantly impact and inconvenience our passengers, our flight attendants’ fellow employees and the travel industry,” the airline said. Updates were being published on a strike response website.
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Union members have demanded a raise in daily allowances and an end to a practice in which non-union members get the same benefits as members.

Management has said daily allowances are already higher than those offered by competitors and barring non-union members who do the same work from enjoying equal benefits would harm safety and morale.

EVA Air Chief Executive Vice-President Ho Ching-sheng addressed union members, but showed little inclination toward compromise.

“We understand that many flight attendants are involved because of peer pressure and we urge those flight attendants to think about what they have done. They should understand that it’s not appropriate to do so.”

Earlier this year, pilots at Taiwan’s largest carrier, China Airlines, went on strike for seven days over benefits and working conditions before reaching an agreement with the mediation of the transport and labour ministries and the vice-premier.

With files from The Associated Press