TransAsia to hold negotiations with union after protest

Financially troubled TransAsia Airways, one of Taiwan’s major airlines, will hold negotiations with union representatives to discuss the company’s severance plan for employees, following a protest by union members in the wake of the unexpected announcement that the company is to be dissolved earlier in the day.

TransAsia Airways Chairman Vincent Lin (林明昇) said the carrier will be dissolved and all its flights suspended immediately, as he explained the decision taken by the TransAsia board.

The 65-year-old company had decided to bow out of the aviation industry because of its deteriorating financial situation, he said.

However, when the carrier called an impromptu meeting with “employee representatives” without prior notification, about 300 union members protested at the company’s headquarters in Taipei.

The union was formed after the decision to dissolve the airline was announced.

Speaking on behalf of the new union, Pang Min-yi (龎閔憶) described the meeting as “illegal and secret,” noting that union representatives wanted to attend but were prevented from doing so.

Following the protest, TransAsia Airways agreed to hold at least two meetings with union representatives, the first being scheduled for Wednesday morning, the union said.

Addressing criticism that the airline’s abrupt announcement on Monday suspending all flights on Tuesday left many passengers in the lurch, Lin said the decision was taken to avoid impacting pilots.

Lin said he was worried that with rumors swirling about the airline’s future and a board meeting planned for Tuesday morning, pilots and cabin crews would be distracted, leading to concerns about flight safety, so all flights were canceled.

However, Pang described Lin’s remarks as unacceptable, pointing out that the number one priority of all airline staff is flight safety. “How could he say that flight safety might be affected?” she asked.

The company did not suspend flights after two major accidents involving the airline in recent years, Pang said, adding that the union will fight for the rights of employees in negotiations with management.

Taipei City’s Department of Labor confirmed on Tuesday evening that TransAsia Airways had submitted a plan for a massive layoff of staff.

The airline will need to negotiate with employee representatives to determine the details of its severance plan, the department said, adding that it would intervene if the two sides fail to reach a consensus and employees file for mediation.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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