READY FOR A FIGHT:Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union vice president Steven Chang said the firm has transformed itself from a ‘sweatshop’ to a ‘scam operation’
By Abraham Gerber / Staff reporter
Members of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union yesterday protest outside the China Airlines headquarters in Taipei.
Hundreds of members of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union unleashed a hail of eggs on China Airlines’ headquarters in Taipei yesterday, as the union threatened to escalate its action and file a lawsuit if the corporation refuses to enforce the “anti-free-riding” provisions of a labor agreement by the end of the month.
Egg yolk dripped off the firm’s logo as union members called the company “shameless,” saying it had “killed its integrity” following a breakdown in negotiations over extending the benefits won by striking union members to members of a separate union from which the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union split after alleging it was too deferential to the firm’s management.
The other union did not participate in a strike in June which saw Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union members win a pay increase for being stationed overseas, but its members were also given the pay raise shortly afterward following negotiations with the firm’s management.
“We initially tried to be noble in carrying out the terms of the agreement, but the company has used all sorts of weaselly methods to avoid keeping its word,” Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union secretary-general Lin Chia-wei (林佳瑋) said, criticizing the company for canceling the “anti-free-riding” provision of the agreement it signed with the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union.
“We welcome increases in overseas pay for other workers, but those increases should have seen our members get an additional US$2 increase under the terms of the agreement,” Lin said, adding that the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union agreement should take precedent because it has a stronger claim to represent flight attendants.
She added that the union would escalate its action against the firm if its demands are not met by the end of the month.
Lawyer Wu Chun-ta (吳俊達) said that the union plans to file a lawsuit and apply for Ministry of Labor adjudication next month if the agreement is not enforced.
“The only thing that is foreseeable is that labor relations will be deadlocked as ‘flames of war’ pop up everywhere,” union president Chao Kang (趙剛) said, adding that the company’s dishonesty would call into question any future promises.
Union vice president Steven Chang (張書元) said that the company had transformed itself from a “sweatshop” into a “scam operation,” while union members shouted that they were “not afraid of another fight.”