EVA threatens to hit workers in the pocket if flight attendants strike

EVA Air, one of Taiwan’s largest airlines, on May 8 threatened to suspend its year-end bonuses and pay increases for all employees if its flight attendants decide to go on strike. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — EVA Air, one of Taiwan’s largest airlines, on May 8 threatened to suspend its year-end bonuses and pay increases for all employees if its flight attendants decide to go on strike.

A strike at this time will hurt its profitability and may even cause financial losses, which means steps such as a wage freeze and the suspension of year-end bonus payments will have to be taken, the airline said.

“We are a private airline company, and we have to take full responsibility for our employees, shareholders, and passengers, whether we are making profits or sustaining losses,” EVA said in a statement after the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) decided to hold a vote on strike action by its EVA members.

Since the union announced last month that it will hold the vote on May 13, EVA’s bookings and load factor have dropped significantly, according to the statement.

In preparation for the worst-case scenario, the airline said, it will have to implement cost-cutting measures, which will be maintained until its business returns to profitability.

In addition, EVA said, it will withdraw other benefits to its employees and their relatives.

For example, the carrier said, its employees are usually given a free ticket each year to a destination of their choice on its routes and they are eligible for discount airfares, but those benefits would be suspended for three years with immediate effect if the flight attendants go on strike.

Flight crew members and ground staff who work during the strike, however, will not be affected by that particular decision, the airline added. In response, the TFAU said EVA’s threats did nothing but further justify the strike.

The threatened actions by the airline would be a violation of the Labor Union Act, the union said, citing Article 35, which prohibits employers from “dismissing, demoting, reducing the wages of, or rendering other unfair treatment to an employee who participates in or supports industrial action.” The union said it would consider asking the Ministry of Labor to intervene.

By Lee Hsin-Yin