SPECIAL RULES: Flight attendants are often required to work more than 12 hours at a time on regional flights, contravening labor regulations, the airline’s union said
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
The EVA Airways Corp union yesterday urged the Civil Aeronautics Administration （CAA） to reject the carrier’s request to stipulate special rules to regulate flight attendants’ work hours.
The protest at the agency’s headquarters in Taipei was also attended by members of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union and the China Airlines Employees’ Union
Taoyuan union deputy secretary Chou Sheng-kai （周聖凱） said that EVA was found to have overworked its flight attendants 62 times last year and 52 times so far this year.
The airline was fined five times in the past three years for failing Taoyuan Department of Labor inspections, Chou said, adding that it was also fined NT$550,000 for overworking its flight attendants by one minute, which the carrier appealed to the Ministry of Labor.
“EVA has repeatedly violated overtime regulations, and the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union has been asking the airline to resolve the issue by signing a collective agreement with its flight attendants,” Chou said.
“Rather than finding a solution, the airline decided to take a tough stand on the issue and criticized the Labor Standards Act （勞動基準法） for giving airlines limited flexibility. It has asked the CAA to stipulate special rules to regulate flight attendants’ work hours,” he added.
EVA union president Liao Yi-chin （廖以勤） said that the Aircraft Flight Operation Regulations （AOR, 航空器飛航作業管理規則） allow flight attendants to work for 14 hours straight, but only for long-haul flights.
Flight attendants working on flights to Asian countries must follow the 12-hour working time rule stipulated in the labor act, she said.
EVA flights to Tokyo, Phnom Penh and Beijing must fly a round trip on the same day, often requiring flight attendants to work more than 12 hours straight.
As an example, Liao said those working on flights to Tokyo must get up at 4:30am and report to the airline by 6:50am before takeoff at 8:50am.
After the flight lands in Tokyo at 1:15pm, the attendants must check the aircraft before the flight departs for Taoyuan at 2:15pm, she said, adding that they usually have no break during the one-hour wait.
After flight attendants land at 5:05pm, they must sign off before they are allowed to go home, she said, adding that they usually return home at about 8pm.
The airline said it should not be punished for its employees working overtime if air traffic control causes flight delays, Liao said.
However, the ministry said that delays caused by air traffic control or weather are operational risks that the company must bear and do not negate its responsibility, she said.
The airline has been told that it can arrange for flight attendants to spend the night at destinations to avoid overwork and contravening labor regulations, she said.
The CAA should instruct the airline to strictly enforce regulations governing flight attendants’ work hours, the EVA union said, adding that the agency should not stipulate special rules that enable the airline to contravene the labor act.
The CAA said that it has no plan to stipulate special work hour rules for flight attendants, adding that airlines must follow the labor act and the AOR.
The agency added that it would continue working with the labor ministry to sort out conflicting regulations in the act and the AOR.
Members of three flight attendants’ associations yesterday stage a protest in front of the Civil Aeronautics Administration in Taipei, accusing EVA Airways of forcing its flight attendants to work overtime. Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times