Small steps taken in pilot-airline negotiations: participants

Taipei, Aug. 11 (CNA) Some progress has been made in negotiations between China Airlines (CAL), EVA Airways and their respective pilots after labor authorities intervened in their dispute to avoid a pilots strike, participating parties said Saturday.

Separate meetings between each airline and its pilots mediated by Taoyuan City's Department of Labor were held late into the night on Friday to review work hours, pay issues and the carriers' management style, and some progress was made, according to the department.

Pilots and management from CAL have "gained focus" on several issues, while no consensus was reached on the EVA Air side, the department said in a statement.

The first round of government-led negotiations marked a good beginning for both sides because at least the carriers and the pilots union were willing to resolve differences "in a rational manner and with good will."

Pilots Union Taoyuan executive director and CAL pilot Chen Hsiang-lin (???) told CNA that participants in the CAL meeting were able to touch on how flight data should be collected and used to evaluate pilots' performance fairly.

But no agreement was reached on that particular topic, and there was no discussion of the pilot welfare issues raised by CAL and EVA Air pilots, Chen said.

Pilots from the two airlines have threatened to strike to increase their rest time and bonuses, as well as gain greater autonomy in flight operations.

Still, both sides agreed to a second round of negotiations, to be held on Aug. 16 for EVA Air and on Aug. 17 for CAL.

CAL and EVA Air pilots in the Pilots Union Taoyuan voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike on Tuesday, and the union said it will announce a strike date Aug. 20 if the country's two major airlines do not offer their pilots better working conditions.

Around 99 percent of CAL pilots and 97 percent of EVA Air pilots who cast ballots voted to strike in the wake of unsuccessful negotiations with management, according to union tallies.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel