EVA Air flights delayed after ground crew take leave to protest 1-month bonus

The ground crew, who are part of an EVA Air affiliate, have pointed out that the airline's bonus is three months.

Matthias Ang | January 05, 2023, 05:47 PM

Taiwanese airline EVA Airways Corporation (EVA Air) has been affected by flight delays after its ground crew staged a protest over receiving a one-month bonus, Taiwanese media Central News Agency reported.

On Jan. 1, about 150 ground crew employed by an EVA Air affiliate, Evergreen Airline Services Corp, took leave at the same time in response to the announcement of their bonus.

Hong Kong media HK01 reported that this is roughly 30 per cent of Evergreen Airline Services' total manpower.

Company executives help with ground crew duties

The protest affected 31 departing flights, 16 arriving flights and 4,100 passengers, Taoyuan International Airport revealed.

Over 40 of the ground crew, including baggage handlers and cleaners were still on leave on Jan. 2, Central News Agency further reported.

In response, senior executives of Evergreen Airline Services, including the chairman, general manager, administrative supervisors and on-site operation supervisors, among others, ended up helping with baggage handling and cabin cleaning duties in a bid to prevent further delays.

This included the chairman of Evergreen Airline Services, Chen Youyu (hanyu pinyin name), who was photographed perspiring while handling baggage, Taiwanese media SETN further reported.

Airline is part of the same group as Evergreen Marine

EVA Air is part of the Evergreen group of companies, which includes Taiwan's largest shipping company, Evergreen Marine.

The bonuses for most employees of Evergreen Marine reportedly ranged from 10 to 45 months, with some staff receiving as much as 52 months.

In comparison, the bonuses announced for EVA Air employees were three months.

Another affiliate of the airline, Evergreen Sky Catering Corporation, also announced a bonus of one month, Taipei Times reported.

Staff from Evergreen Airline Services were quoted by Taiwan's Public Television Service News (PTS News) as saying:

"Employees of EVA Airways Corp. will receive three months of salary as a bonus and a raise of NT$3,000 (S$131) in salary. We only get one month and a raise of just NT$2,000 (S$87). Of course, we feel like it's unfair. EVA Air is making money because we handle all their loads of cargo."

Some ground crew threatened to stage another strike if bonus not raised

Some of Evergreen Airlines Services' staff have since threatened to stage another strike during the Lunar New Year period if their demand for their bonus to be raised to three months is not met, the Taipei Times further reported.

Separately, the workers' union of Taoyuan International Airport Services, a ground service company owned by China Airlines, also threatened to strike during the Lunar New Year period if their demands for a 4 per cent wage increase, among other benefits, are not met.

Around 70 per cent of the ground services at Taoyuan International Airport are provided by Taoyuan International Airport Services, while the remaining 30 per cent are provided by Evergreen Airline Services.

Taiwan's transport ministry says parent firms should offer financial support

The threats have prompted Taiwan's Minister of Transportation and Communications, Wang Kwo-tsai, to issue a statement about the matter.

Wang said the ministry would not allow ground services to be halted over labour disputes, and would assist in communication between workers and management.

He also pointed out how both of the ground services firms have incurred major losses throughout the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was further quoted by the Taipei Times as saying:

"The two companies could not generate profits due to external circumstances, which were beyond their control, not because their employees did not work hard.

Their more profitable parent companies should take these factors into consideration and voluntarily offer assistance so that workers in their subsidiaries can enjoy the Lunar New Year holiday as well."

Top photo via Taoyuan International Airport/Facebook