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On November 9, over hundreds of flight attendants gathered in front of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to protest against worker exploitation. Protesters cracked ice sculptures representing exploitation and held banners reading, “High-handed AOR exhaust flight attendants," “No amendments to the law, no good quality of flight safety," pointing out that the working hours of the flight crew members is way beyond the normal working hours restricted by law.

Liberty Times reports, the Labor Standards Act stipulates the maximum working hours per month to be 168 hours, but an air crew member has to work 230 duty hours for 30 consecutive days and the in-flight rest hours do not count as duty hours.

According to the Aircraft Flight Operation Regulation (AOR), if the cabin crew spends an hour on in-flight rest, the flight duty period can be extended to 20 hours, and if they spend over three hours staying in a hotel after landing, the flight duty period can be automatically extended to 24 hours. In this regard, Zhao Gang, director of Taoyuan flight attendant’s association, says the AOR outrageously violates the maximum working hours of 12 hours based on the Labor Standards Act and has exhausted the air crew members.

China Airlines originally arranged the same cabin crew at the day-return-flight President Ma took to visit PRC President Xi Jinping on November 11, but the flight attendant’s association soon issued a public statement protesting against this overtime flight. The airline then drafted one more cabin crew to fly to Singapore to standby, but this flight was also an illegal dispatch.

Yu Yi-shi, director of Flight Standards Division under Civil Aeronautics Administration, MOTC, says the Civil Aeronautics Administration cooperated with the Ministry of Labor to conduct labor inspection last year and did not discover any violation of the Civil Aviation Law. However, the authorities are willing to reflect on related laws and consider reducing the working hours of flight attendants to less than 200 hours based on biological clocks and the amount of Red-eye flights. The public hearing of the new regulations will be held in December and might be implemented as soon as August next year.

The flight attendant’s association also points out in the statement according to statistics issued by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the airline industry has grown up to 48% in the past 15 years, but this performance is built on the labor exploitation of airline workers. Crew members work 12 hours a day but only get paid for eight hours. The managers abuse the airline workers saying, “The company does not need to pay the workers for the four stand-by hours.”

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang