TAIPEI (CNA) — An EVA Air flight attendant and board member of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) was fired on July 11 after making a remark about adding “extras” to a pilot’s meal during the recent flight attendants strike.
After a thorough review, the human resources committee has decided to dismiss Kuo Chih-yen (郭芷嫣) with immediate effect, EVA Air announced, adding that the company will also start legal action against her for misconduct.
Prior to the end of the strike, which began late June, Kuo said in a Line chat group that she intended to “add extras” to a pilot’s meal in retaliation for his opposition to the union’s June 20-July 9 strike. However, she did not describe the nature of the “extras.”
In addition to her comments, characterized by EVA Air as a threat to flight safety, screenshots of the chats circulating online since July 7 also show that Kuo said she would not forgive flight attendants who abandoned the strike.
“Of course I am going to give (the flight attendants) an extremely hard time,” she wrote in the chat group. “We were out there sun-scorched for 17 days, and they ended up getting a share of what we fought for.”
Initially, the union did not seem to take the incident seriously, telling reporters July 8 that the screenshots could have been fabricated, and that Kuo had assured them that she had no intention of hurting anyone.
However, EVA Air decided to investigate the case, transferring Kuo to a ground staff position and reporting her case to the police.
Kuo later made an announcement on the union’s Facebook page admitting she had written the messages, but saying she was only joking at the time.
On Thursday, EVA Air again reiterated that the company would not tolerate anything that could jeopardize flight safety.
As a flight attendant and deputy purser, she should have known better, the airline said.
In terms of company rules, Kuo was totally out of line, not to mention that her actions could also constitute violations of the Civil Aviation Act and the Criminal Code, it said.
Kuo has 14 days to appeal the company’s decision, EVA Air said.
Following the announcement, TFAU issued a statement accusing the airline of retaliating against one of its members because of the strike.
The union said the company had deliberately blown the case out of proportion because Kuo was a union member, and that management had taken the decision as an act of revenge against the union and its members for striking.
Despite acknowledging that her remarks were inappropriate, the union sided with Kuo, saying the punishment was too harsh and indicating it will assist with her appeal.
By Wu Hsin-yun, Yu Hsiao-han and Ko Lin