Wage Dispute Grounds Asiana Airlines' International Flight
An Asiana Airlines plane taxis on the tarmac
An Asiana Airlines plane taxis on the tarmac

A scheduled Asiana Airlines international flight bound for Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, was canceled due to the inability to secure a pilot.

According to Asiana Airlines on July 16, flight OZ731, which was scheduled to depart from Incheon Airport at 7:35 a.m. and arrive in Ho Chi Minh at 11:05 a.m., was canceled due to collective action by the pilots’ union. The flight OZ732, which was scheduled to leave Ho Chi Minh at 12:05 p.m. and return to Incheon at 7:25 p.m. the same day, was also subsequently canceled.

Taking together the explanations from both the Asiana Airlines management and union, it appears that a problem arose on a flight returning to Korea from Changsha, China, the previous day. This led to a domino effect of staffing gaps as another pilot had to be deployed. This is why the company could not secure a pilot for the flight to Ho Chi Minh.

An Asiana Airlines official stated, “We were unable to secure a pilot due to collective action by the pilots’ union, such as refusing to be on standby,” and added, “We are seeking solutions such as boarding canceled passengers on larger aircraft scheduled for future flights or providing seats on other airlines.” Standby refers to a state in which some pilots wait in case of a staffing gap in flight control. However, the related allowances were not paid even while on standby.

This is the first cancellation of an international flight since the pilots’ union launched a dispute on June 7. The company said that after the union entered into a lawful struggle, 8 domestic flights were canceled by July 15, and 54 flights, including 35 international flights and 19 domestic flights, had been delayed. Among them, a flight departing from Incheon to Sendai on July 2 was delayed for 24 hours.

Asiana Airlines and the pilots’ union began wage negotiations last October, the first time since 2018, but have been struggling for nine months. This is due to the difficulty in narrowing the gap between the 10% wage increase proposed by the union and the 2.5% proposed by the company.

A union official criticized, “The company is not moving by even 0.1% from the 2.5%, despite the union proposing alternatives that it could lower the originally proposed wage increase if sufficient compensation in terms of allowances or welfare is offered.”

The union has warned that it will go on strike on July 24 if negotiations with the company are not smooth, raising concerns ahead of the holiday season. As the aviation industry is designated as an essential public service establishment, it must maintain 80% of the workforce or operating rate for international flights, 70% for Jeju routes, and 50% for domestic flights during a strike, according to the trade union and labor relations adjustment act and the essential maintenance duty agreement agreed upon by labor and management. The union plans to comply with this policy when going on strike.

Article source: https://airlines.einnews.com/article/644759562/C4R7VDbOTVAyn0aX?ref=rss&ecode=vaZAu9rk30b8KC5H

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