Recently, on the evening of July 5th, EVA Air management and the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) signed an agreement to end their bitter dispute. The damage of the 17-day-long strike will have an impact over the next few weeks, as the airline restores flights to their normal schedule.
During a third official round of talks on Saturday evening, the two parties came to an agreement by holding a signing ceremony at 5:50 pm. According to Taiwan News, despite the agreement to end hostilities, the strike itself will not officially end until July 10th.
The longest in Taiwan history
This strike was the longest in the history of Taiwan. Up to this point in the dispute, EVA Air has had to cancel 1,440 flights, affecting over 280,000 passengers. However, resuming regular operations and a normal schedule of flights is only possible at the end of this month.
By the 19th July about 2,250 flights will have been cancelled. However, Focus Taiwan is reporting further adjustments are likely in August. This depends on workforce supply and passenger demand. According to website Labor Notes, as of July 2nd the EVA Air strike has cost the company US$56 million.
Taiwan has had a bad year for labor disputes in the air travel sector. In early February, pilots of Taiwan’s largest airline, China Airlines, went on strike. According to the South China Morning Post, the strike lasted eight days and resulted in the cancellation of more than 200 flights. Furthermore, as many as 50,000 passengers were stranded for a total cost of approximately US$16.2 million.
With the China Airlines dispute, the pilot’s main demand was an increase in the number of pilots on various flights to combat fatigue and improve safety.
As details of the settlement have not been made public, it is currently unknown what the Taiwan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) got out of their job action. Speaking at a joint news conference in Taoyuan City, Lee Ying, a striking member of TFAU, said that the strike demonstrated solidarity from the 2,300 flight attendants:
“We really want to participate in corporate governance, which critically affects our working conditions,”
According to The Straits Times, Minister of Labour Hsu Ming-chun said that there would be revisions made to government regulations in order to create a better work environment.
Other notable airline strikes
Last year in September, Ryanair saw the cancellation of 150 flights as it was facing cabin crew strikes across Europe. The Irish budget carrier had to cancel 8% of its 2,400 daily flights due to 24-hour walkouts in Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium over pay and conditions.
More recently, SAS pilots went on strike as a result of disputes regarding wages and working conditions. Throughout the strike, there were over 40,000 flight cancellations. The result was that more than 380,000 passengers were stranded. In the end, pilots settled with a three-year deal for a 3.5% salary increase.
We have reached out to EVA Air for a comment. However, we have not received anything at the time of publishing this article. We will update this post if we hear anything.