The Taiwanese airline China Airlines remains stuck in a bitter dispute with its pilots union after a second round of negotiations on Monday evening failed on a list of complaints ranging from working hours and end-of-year bonuses to transparency on promotions. Long-standing disagreements about poor management and workload combined with violations of labor laws prompted China Airline pilots to declare a strike on February 8 during the Asian Lunar New Year's holiday.
Talks between the Taoyuan Union of Pilots, the management of China Airlines and the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) resulted in a complete impasse on Monday after the airline refused to meet the requirements of the pilots regarding working hours. Representatives of the Union want the airline to make three pilots instead of the current two on flights that take more than seven hours to reduce fatigue and reduce flight risks. China Airlines rejected the requirements of the union on the grounds that the extra manpower would result in a peak in annual operating costs.
China Airlines mainly serves regional routes to destinations in Northeast and Southeast Asia; about 40 percent of all flights last seven hours or longer. During a seven-hour flight, the trade union said that pilots actually worked for at least nine hours and could only get five to six hours of rest between flights. After the first round of negotiations, the airline agreed to schedule three pilots on eight-hour flights, aligning the calling policy with global industrial standards.
According to a spokesperson for China Airlines, the strike between February 8 and February 11 resulted in a loss of $ 3.41 million in revenue after the cancellation of 80 flights. Although about 600 of the airline's 1300 pilots participated in the strike, the Taiwanese national airline managed to retain 90 percent of its schedule.
Although the working hours of pilots remain the main bottleneck, the trade union has also urged the chairman of China Airlines, Nuan-Hsuan Ho, to resign his position, which he has held since 2016. In a statement released on Friday, the union said the airline had breached the Labor Standards Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act 33 times under the leadership of Ho. Additional requirements include the dismissal of managers who have damaged the relationship between employer and employee; greater transparency about recruitment, training programs & promotions; an end-of-year bonus similar to that of EVA Air in Taiwan; and protection of employees involved in trade union activities.