EVA Air’s Cabin Crew Vote To Go On Strike

Taiwanese carrier EVA Air is looking down the barrel of a cabin crew strike, as the unions circle their wagons to battle for better working conditions, as reported by Flight Global.

EVA Air Flight Attendant. Photo: EVA Air

What are the details?

The Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union, who represent just under 6,000 flight attendants operating in the region, voted on June 7th to take industrial action. This included standing down from active duty. It is believed that around 90% of the union voted for this action.

As 2,949 members of the union actually work for EVA Air, it will have a massive impact on the airline. Other Taiwanese airlines, such as China Airlines, provide union members $1.70 USD ad diem hourly rate more than EVA Air.

The strike action comes as negotiations for better working conditions and pay fell apart before the annual EVA Air shareholders meeting. According to Paddle Your Own Kanoo, EVA Air executives said it was up to the flight attendants to prove that the current pay was not enough.

EVA Air flight attendants wearing Hello Kitty aprons. Photo: EVA Air

It is also understood that the union only wants the pay increase for their members, not flight attendants who are with another union or independent. This would mean different payrolls, more accounting and an awkward situation for the airline.

But it doesn’t stop there. The union also wants the airline to re-engineer several long-haul routes from daily turn around to overnight layover stays. This would allow the flight attendants to leave the airport, rest in a hotel, explore the cities and generally have more time to recover. The following return routes from Taiwan constitute over 12-hour days:

  • Tokyo, Japan.
  • Beijing, China.
  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
  • Harbin, China.
  • Shenyang, China.
  • Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.

They are expected to resume discussions with EVA Air on the 25th of November. However, the union has not ruled out taking industrial action within the next few weeks. EVA Air told Flight Global that they were disappointed that the union had decided to take this action, after many rounds of negotiating to meet them halfway on the table.

“[We] believe that pragmatic dialogue and rational negotiation are the best ways to resolve disputes,” – EVA Air Statement.

What will EVA Air do?

If the union does move ahead to stand down, EVA Air will need to organize alternative transportation for flights booked in that period. With 62 destinations flying out almost daily, this will be no easy task.

EVA Air flight attendants got a uniform overhaul back in 2017. Photo: EVA Air.

With the help of Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications, EVA Air has prepared to work with rivals China Airlines and Mandarin Airlines to help move their passengers, as well as EVA Air subsidiary UNI Air. Additionally, it is rumored that the Taiwanese air force has been approached to potentially provide assistance.

The union has not locked in a date at this stage for their strike, but have said ‘at any time’.

What do you think? Should the flight attendants get more pay, or are they just being disruptive? Let us know in the comments.