TAIPEI (CNA) — Pilots from China Airlines (CAL) will continue to strike after the second round of negotiations between the pilots union and the airline on Feb. 11 again failed to reach a consensus on the issue of overwork, according to the Pilots Union Taoyuan.
There was almost no common ground between the management and the labor, said union board director Chen Pei-pei (陳蓓蓓) after four hours of talks mediated by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC).
“I was very surprised that CAL did not bring any new proposals to the table. They seemed to be just repeating the conclusions of our last meeting,” Chen said.
“We compromised on four points but the airline did not make any changes to its positions,” she said.
CAL President Hsieh Su-chien (謝世謙) said the company extended an olive branch by agreeing to schedule three crew members on red-eye flights of more than seven hours, but the offer was not accepted by the union.
CAL said it was confused that after the first round of talks, it met the key demands proposed by the union — essentially four pilots for flights of over 12 hours and three pilots for those of over 8 hours — but the union kept bringing up new demands, making further concessions impossible.
Deputy Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材), the ministry’s point man in the labor dispute, was hoping for a better result.
“I was very disappointed with the outcome, and I hope both sides can calm down and come up with better solutions,” Wang said.
The main issue separating CAL and its pilots is work hours on regional flights and how many hours constitute “overwork.” The first round of negotiations last week broke down because the airline insisted it would only schedule three flight crew members on flights of over eight hours, while the pilots were asking for three pilots on flights of over seven hours.
Chen said the union agreed to the eight-hour threshold for three pilots on Monday, but was still demanding a seven-hour threshold for pilots flying multi-sector cargo flights.
Regional flights account for 40 percent of the airline’s schedule and take eight hours on average for a round trip.
By Lee Hsin-Yin