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Airline offers payout as ground crew oppose strike by pilots

Top News | Sophie Hui and Jane Cheung Feb 12, 2019
China Airlines is offering compensation of up to US$250 (HK$1,950) each to passengers who have been affected by a pilots' strike. The Taiwan flag carrier met with trade unionists at 5pm yesterday ahead of the strike's fifth day today. More than 600 pilots are taking part in the strike, organized by the Taoyuan Pilots Union, that started at 6am on Friday. The airline expects at least 20 flights to be affected today, including four between Hong Kong and Taipei, while two between Hong Kong and Kaohsiung have been canceled. Yesterday, four flights between Hong Kong and Taipei, and two between the SAR and Kaohsiung were canceled, according to the Hong Kong Airport Authority. Two flights on each route were delayed. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen addressed the strike for the first time yesterday, saying she hopes the two sides can sit at the table and negotiate rationally to reach a win-win outcome. Wang Kwo-tsai, deputy minister of transportation and communications, is also optimistic both parties can reach a consensus on how to prevent pilots from becoming fatigued in the new round of talks. Apart from its subsidiaries - Tigerair Taiwan and Mandarin Airlines- Wang said China Airlines has also asked Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Airlines to lend a helping hand by adding flights to and from the SAR. He said China Airlines also promised to allow passengers affected by the strike to claim their expenditures on food, accommodation and transport. But this will be capped at US$250. Meanwhile, ground crew members have been seen opposing the strike since Sunday, but pilots told Taiwan media that those who protested against the strike were the airline's senior management called to the venue to support the airline. But ground crew unions said attendants who worked on the frontline also showed up yesterday to voice their opposition. While the meeting was going on at the Taiwanese Transport Ministry, pilot union members stood on one side of the road and the ground crew groups on the other side, chanting slogans at one another. The pilots shouted: "The pilot strike will be a success! We should fight in union!" Those against the strike proclaimed: "Staff members of China Airlines disapprove of the strike. We are workers at the low level. End the strike and send our tourists home. Trainers should also come back to work!"


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