EVA Air Strike Finally Over – Disruption Expected Until Late July

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.

The EVA Air strike was the longest in Taiwan’s history. Photo: Flickr user Chung ChengYen

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.

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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.

The result

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.

The 787-10 will add to EVA Air’s existing Dreamliner fleet of 787-9 aircraft. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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.

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Iwan

Thanks for reaching out to Eva on our behalf. It’s worrying for us individuals, as we have no voice. It was quite clear on Twitter that they didn’t even bother replying. I hope the media can collectively reach out on our behalf. I’d like to continue flying Eva as I think they offer the best price/performance for Star Alliance between Singapore and USA. The lack of transparency, and the poor handling of the situation where Eva did a disservice to nearly 300K passengers (not to mention family, friends, colleagues that these passengers are supposed to meet) has damaged my trust… Read more »

Alice

No, given the demands of the union, if Eva met all of it as is, it would be a slippery slope and we would see more disruptions in the future. There are two sides to a strike, the company and the workers. The FAs cannot say they did not know how much disruption it would cause if they went on strike giving only 2 hours notice. Kudos to the ground staff and FAs who worked hard during the strike to help affected passengers. Eva has been publishing news release during the strike on their website, but it seems only in… Read more »