Meeting between TransAsia management, workers breaks down

A meeting between the management and employees of TransAsia Airways to address the abrupt disbanding of the airline broke down in just 30 minutes on Wednesday.

TransAsia, Taiwan's third largest airline, announced unexpectedly on Tuesday that it was dissolving the company and laying off all of its employees because of financial difficulties and concern that the airline's prospects would not turn around in the future.

Faced with protests from the union that it was left in the dark on the decision, TransAsia management agreed to at least two coordination meetings with its employees.

Wednesday morning's encounter started at 8:30 a.m., but a union adviser lashed out at management for its "complete lack of sincerity."

The adviser, Lin Chia-wei (???), said TransAsia CEO Liu Tung-ming (???) clearly promised to union members Tuesday night that each side could have 20 representatives at Wednesday's meeting.

But Lin said the airline's management gave union representatives a hard time when they tried to enter the company's offices and in the end not all of them were allowed into the venue.

Management also would not allow any audio or visual recordings of the meeting, and members of the union had their cell phones taken away, with some of the phones even being taken to other rooms.

"The union therefore decided to refuse to take part in the meeting," Lin said.

He added, however, that the union had not given up hope on the company, and he hoped that management would show the maximum amount of good will in the future.

At the same time, Lin said, the union is not ruling out the possibility of taking to the streets or using other tactics to make sure the company hears the voices of its employees.

Arrangements for another meeting have yet to be discussed, Lin said.

Before Wednesday's brief encounter, scores of TransAsia employees showed up outside the company's building, carrying signboards reading "last chance for (Chairman) Vincent Lin (???) to treat employees well."

They also called for severance pay to be calculated based on the number of years of service times each employee's average monthly wage, as stipulated in the Labor Standards Act, and then add NT$500,000 to the total for each worker.

Also, because the Labor Standards Act requires companies to give 60 days notice in the case of mass layoffs, the union said the employees' formal termination date should be Jan. 21, 2017.

The union issued a statement early Wednesday condemning the company's treatment of its employees, saying TransAsia did not send a message, issue a notice or call employees to inform them of the suspension of flights and dissolution of the company on Tuesday.

That left the workers to learn about the situation through news reports, the union complained, describing the behavior as "cruel treatment" after employees had worked with the company to get it through two fatal crashes in 2014 and 2015.

The airline had 1,795 employees registered under the national labor insurance program as of the end of October, according to the Ministry of Labor.

Meanwhile, banks that provided loans to TransAsia Airways said they have started standard operating procedures to secure their loans, estimated at around NT$11 billion (US$345.08 million).

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel