Saturday, June 25, 2016

AIRLINE STRIKE: KMT, DPP trade barbs over CAL strike

AIRLINE STRIKE: KMT, DPP trade barbs over CAL strike

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

A China Airlines passenger holds up a sign to show his support for the flight attendants’ strike at Kaohsiung International Airport yesterday.

Photo: Hung Chen-hung, Taipei Times

After Premier Lin Chuan (林全) promised better communication with China Airlines (CAL) workers yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Culture and Communications Committee director Chow Chi-wai (周志偉) accused President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her administration of “failing to take proactive action and allowing the incident to deteriorate.”
Chow said that Tsai’s administration, “who have pledged to solve problems and work on communicating with the people,” must be held accountable for the strike, as it had failed to take action since the flight attendants staged a protest on May 31.
He called on the government to quickly intervene and help coordinate negotiations between the airline and its employees “lest the incident continues to intensify and affect the rights of the passengers, the national image and flight safety.”
“The KMT supports efforts to safeguard workers’ rights. The government should respond to the flight attendants’ concerns about long working hours, overwork and wages, and help them secure a reasonable working environment and working conditions,” he said.
KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) made a short visit to a rally of CAL workers early yesterday morning.
She said on Facebook that the flight attendants are the “guardians” of air travelers and the “face” of Taiwan for foreign visitors, and called on the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to intervene to make a “win-win-win situation for the employees, employer and passengers.”
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said on Facebook that he “completely agrees with the KMT’s criticism that the DPP government holds the greatest responsibility for the incident. What the DPP government is to be held accountable for is having the garbage left by the KMT remain at CAL for another month [after the new government took over].”
“Ho [Nuan-hsuan (何煖軒)], who has not yet officially taken over the chairmanship, has asked the company to cancel its new regulation that requires flight attendants to clock in at Taoyuan, but surprisingly was refused by [outgoing] president Chang Yu-hern (張有恒). The Ministry of Labor has been coordinating with the flight attendants union, but CAL senior vice president Yang Chen (楊辰) took the opportunity to sabotage the negotiations,” Tuan said.
“Jesse Lee (李昭平), the labor representative on the airline’s board and the director-general of the Federation of Aviation Employees, was also the former chairman of the China Airlines Union (華航產業工會). He is also a KMT Central Standing Committee member. What effort has he ever made to improve the workers’ rights except for holding a press conference with the White Wolf [China Unification Promotion Party Chairman and former Bamboo Union gang leader Chang An-le (張安樂)]?” Tuan asked, referring to Lee and Chang’s “cross-strait service trade agreement” press conference during the Sunflower movement in 2014.
“It is indeed [the DPP’s] fault to have not cleaned out the garbage fast enough,” Tuan said.
DPP Legislator Ho Hsin-chun (何欣純), referring to the KMT’s criticism, asked Lin whether the Executive Yuan had made demands of the CAL management team before the strike was announced, but received no reply.
Lin said the government had asked CAL to take a more flexible and soft stance, “but it is regrettable that the communication [between the employer and the employees] did not go well.”
“They [the management team] claimed they had their way of dealing with it; I expected them to solve the issue,” Lin said.

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