Strike grounds China Airlines flights
A strike by hundreds of flight attendants protesting working conditions has grounded most flights for Taiwan’s largest airline, China Airlines, just as the summer travel season was getting started. The airline announced Friday (24 June) it has asked the government to intervene to help resolve the strike – the first ever such action in the country’s aviation history – while the country’s premier, Lin Chuan, urged the company to negotiate with the attendants to ensure flight safety and to restore normal service as soon as possible.
The strike forced the suspension of China Airlines flights out of Taipei’s Songshan Airport and at the main international airport in Taoyuan because of safety concerns for crew and ground staff, the company said in a statement issued an hour before the strike began at midnight Thursday.
Flights out of Taiwan’s smaller domestic airports are expected to operate as normal, the company said. The airline said it would make a decision about flights scheduled for Saturday at a later time.
The union announced it also planned to take possession of 1,500 crew members’ passports and mainland travel permits to ensure they do not defect from the industrial action.
Union officials said a major reason for the action was a change in reporting times for crew members and how they would be paid for the change. China Airlines is one of the major airlines founded in Taiwan and the first to hold a strike in the island’s aviation history. The airline’s main competitor, EVA Air, has a deal in place with its crew members that forbid them from forming a union.