Members of the Taiwan Pilots Union Taoyuan are holding a vote on whether they will hold a strike over working conditions. In the past 2 weeks, more than 700 pilots voted on the strike proposal, meeting Taiwan’s threshold to make it a valid vote. The results of the vote will be announced on August 6, and if a strike is authorized, more than 30,000 passengers could be affected.
Eva Air and China Airlines – the top 2 airlines in Taiwan – are feeling the pressure as not only pilots but flight attendants as well are making their grievances known, stating they are being forced to fly in unsafe conditions and are also being overworked. Members of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union protested outside the Ministry of Labor today.
The unsafe flying conditions are particularly being related to when a typhoon strikes, as there is no law in the country that requires flights to be cancelled during a natural disaster. Currently, the law does allow employees to take the day off during natural disasters only if a holiday is declared in their place of residence or work or in the path of their commute.
The flight attendants said people hardly take advantage of this as they fear repercussions from their employer. The flight attendants asked the Ministry of Labor to institute legislation that would protect airline workers during natural disasters. Whether or not a law is necessary has been met with varying opinions.
As it stands now, flights are taking off during a typhoon. As a result, there is often severe turbulence, and the crew is straddled with trying to keep passengers calm when they themselves are afraid.
The typhoon season in Taiwan runs from June through October, with July to September being the most intense and dangerous.