TAIPEI (CNA) — The Pilots Union Taoyuan said on Feb. 7 it will go ahead with preparations to strike after China Airlines (CAL) refused to meet the union’s demand for better working conditions for pilots.
Although central and local authorities have suggested CAL should accept the union’s proposed improved conditions for pilots, after its members voted in favor of taking strike action on Feb. 1, CAL has declined to do so, leaving CAL pilots with no choice other than to strike, the union said in a statement Thursday.
However, the pilots’ demand for additional manpower, better pay and extended rest periods would increase personnel costs and could hurt the company’s competitiveness, CAL said in a response to Taoyuan City’s labor department.
The union also accused the labor department of sending a staffer to pick up an application from the company for mediation services to settle the labor dispute on Tuesday, Lunar New Year’s Day.
The union said CAL management was deliberately attempting to confuse the public by asserting “no strike is permitted during a mediation period,” which the union contests.
After receiving the application the labor department is considering forestalling the strike by resorting to arbitration, according to the union, which the union characterized as an attempt to undermine CAL pilots’ legal right to strike.
Meanwhile, the union apologized to passengers who will be affected by any strike action but declined to name a date, saying only that an announcement will be made if and when a decision is made.
In a further development, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) plans to hold talks with representatives from CAL management, pilots and relevant government agencies to address outstanding issues, according to Cabinet spokesperson Kolas Yotaka on Thursday.
By Evelyn Kao