Taipei, A shouting contest broke out outside EVA Airways' corporate headquarters in Taoyuan Thursday, as hundreds of union members and company staff shouted slogans and exchanged insults over a strike called by the union that led to nearly two dozen flight cancellations that day.
The strike started at 4 p.m., after negotiations between the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) and the airline management collapsed.
Among the issues unresolved, TFAU demanded that the daily allowance for EVA flight attendants be increased.
As the strike began, hundreds of union members gathered outside the Taoyuan building to protest against the company.
The move quickly led EVA to deploy security guards to fence off the protesters at the front entrance. However, the quiet protest later degenerated into a shouting match, when EVA Air HQ employees came outside carrying their own placards accusing union members of depriving the rights of passengers.
"Don't like your job, then quit!" they shouted.
Unwilling to back down, the striking protesters, wearing purple bands around their heads emblazoned with the word "strike," said they have the legal right to strike and the action is about preserving the dignity of flight attendants.
As the verbal confrontation became heated, police were called in to maintain order.
On Thursday, the Travel Agent Association of Taiwan (TAAT) issued a statement slamming the TFAU for striking, accusing them of holding travelers hostage to meet their own goals.
The TAAT said they hope the dispute between EVA and the union is resolved as soon as possible to end the inconvenience to others. The association also called on the government to draft new laws that stipulate strikes have to be announced 1015 days before any action is taken and that a refund standard be set to preserve the rights and interests of travel agencies and consumers.
Meanwhile, Lion Travel Service, one of the largest travel agencies in Taiwan, advised travelers who have yet to receive notification of flight changes from EVA to make their way to the airport as scheduled.
A total of 8,628 passengers were impacted Thursday by the cancellation of 22 EVA Air flights due to strike action, the carrier said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel