12 7 月 2019 Taiwan Legal Update: EVA Air and Taoyuan City Air Service Professional Trade Union Reach Settlement & Taiwan Enters the South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement
Taoyuan City Air Service Professional Trade Union and Eva Airlines Reach a Settlement
Taoyuan City Air Service Professional Trade Union and Eva Airlines reached a collective agreement on July 6th to end labour strikes. Following the most recent negotiations, the Taoyuan City Government and the Ministry of Labor oversaw the settlement agreement, signed on Saturday evening. This concludes the 17-day-long strike; the longest in Taiwanese aviation history. It is set to cost the airline over US$97 million. The strike itself is scheduled to conclude on July 10th at 12 am. Initially, the strike was due to end a week earlier but due to difficulties in the negotiation process, it was extended. The primary concern was the threat of retaliation. On the 8th, it was announced that 2,000 flight attendants (1,050 of which are non-union members) are to receive double pay for not participating in the labour strikes.
At the beginning of the strike, the airline had only 37% of its flight attendants on duty, which gradually increased to 50% and to date, is currently at 70%. Consequently, it is expected to take a few weeks to restore flights to their normal schedule. The government has estimated that customers may still feel the effects of the strike until July 20th at the latest.
Nonetheless, EVA Airways has affirmed that they will pursue the lawsuit against TFAU, asking for NT$34 million (US$1 million) a day from the heads of the union to compensate for the loss of earnings. NT$680 million is the current estimate of the losses suffered by Eva Air, the exact figure is yet to be finalized; it will be calculated upon commencement of the court case.
Furthermore, Eva Air has pledged not to retaliate against the union if its actions during the strike are considered lawful. They have inferred that they believe there is a chance that all actions were not lawful as the lawsuit is based on the Union’s breach of Act for Settlement of Labor-Management Disputes. The TFAU however, has expressed certainty that all actions were protected by the Act for Settlement of Labor-Management Disputes.
Despite this, The Ministry of Labor expresses optimism that the end of the strike action will be the beginning of positive interaction between the two sides. They have also reminded EVA Airways to avoid improper labour practices for employees participating in strike operations.
Taiwan Enters the South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement
On July 9th, Taiwan successfully joined the “Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement” (SIOFA). This is expected to safeguard Taiwan’s fisheries rights and interests in the Indian Ocean and assist Taiwan in the development of their Fishing Industry, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All members of the agreement unanimously welcomed Taiwan’s accession, indicating recognition of Taiwan’s offshore fishing industry. The Meeting was held in Flic-en-Flac, Mauritius, from the 1st– 5th July 2019.
The SIOFA is an international agreement designed to promote conservation and sustainable fishing practices. It enters into force on June 21, 2012.
Taiwan’s membership is vital as it is a big player in this region. In recent years, the number of fishing boats, mainly catching oil fish, has surpassed 100. In recent years, Taiwanese fishing boats have caught, on average, 17,000 metric tons. As Taiwan’s fishing and fishing interests in the Indian Ocean region increase annually, her accession to the “South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement” will consolidate fishing rights in the Indian Ocean. It will also help the offshore fishing industry to develop and guarantee the interests of Taiwanese fishermen.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that they will continue to work closely with the Fisheries Department in the Agriculture Committee of the Executive Yuan to strive for and safeguard the rights and interests of Taiwan’s participation in regional fisheries management organizations.
The Secretariat is based in la Réunion. Its members include Taiwan, Australia, Cook Islands, the European Union, France (on behalf of the French Indian Ocean Territory), Japan, South Korea, Mauritius, and Cyprus and Thailand. In the future, Taiwan can now work with other members of the agreement to promote sustainable fishing practices in the Indian Ocean, and actively make concrete contributions through professional and substantive participation.
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