‘MISREPORTED’:A China Airlines spokesperson said that reports that the five staff in question would be grounded for at least a month were not true
By Lii Wen / Staff reporter
China Airlines personnel protest outside the company’s offices in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times
Five China Airlines (CAL) union representatives who were grounded for speaking at a demonstration are to resume their flight duties this week, the company said amid mounting public pressure.
The decision marked a victory for labor activists and their supporters, who accused the airline of violating labor regulations and suppressing union activities.
An online petition that expressed solidarity with the five union representatives — four flight attendants and one pilot — has drawn the support of more than 18,000 people.
CAL spokesperson Jeffery Kuo (郭興長) said on Friday night that previous accounts that the quintet would be grounded for at least one month were “misreported.”
He said the grounded employees were subject to a three-day ground-based training session on passenger cabin regulations and employee protocols from Wednesday to Friday.
The employees should be able to resume their posts as soon as this week, since they met all the requirements and passed their exams during the training session, Kuo added.
CAL had said earlier that the grounded staff required “anger management courses” for exhibiting “emotional behavior” that could threaten flight security, referring to their appearances on stage during a protest on Jan. 22.
The protest, which drew more than 1,000 people, was against the company’s reduction in employee year-end bonuses.
At a news conference outside the company’s offices yesterday, the union representatives said they would continue to keep a close eye on CAL, adding that the incident only served as a catalyst for reform, as the company had been urged to improve its working conditions.
CAL staff supportive of the movement would continue to pin yellow ribbons to their uniforms until the grounded employees return to their full duties, Taoyuan Confederation of Trade Unions secretary Lin Chia-wei (林佳瑋) said.
She blasted CAL for clamping down on freedom of expression, citing reported cases of managers removing yellow ribbons by hand against the will of their employees.
Labor activist Tu Kuang-yu (杜光宇) said it remained unclear if Taoyuan Pilots’ Union president Yang Kuang-hai (楊光海) would return to duty next week, as he has not been subject to any courses or “training sessions.”
Yang said he was “confined to a small room” over the past week and was told to study manuals on his own, unlike the grounded flight attendants, who received lectures on anger management together.
Greater Taoyuan Department of Labor Director Pan Hung-lin (潘鴻麟) warned CAL against its “impudent” behavior.