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Heavy Workload Caused by the Strike Can Increase Risks of Safety Accidents

Heavy Workload Caused by the Strike Can Increase Risks of Safety Accidents

Posted July. 21, 2005 03:05,   


Four days into a strike staged by the pilots’ union of Asiana Airlines, concerns are growing over the possible safety accidents due to the heavy workload placed on pilots who are not participating in the strike. Meanwhile, other staff members of the airline are increasingly voicing their criticism against the unionized pilots, deepening the conflicts between the unionized pilots and other staff.

Pilots Complain about Accumulated Fatigue-

Asiana Airlines has managed to maintain its flight schedule, mobilizing non-unionized pilots, foreign pilots, and some unionized pilots who decided not to participate in the walkout. Due to the heavy workload imposed on a smaller workforce, a growing number of pilots are complaining about their heavy workload and fatigue.

One pilot expressed concern, “International flights run according to the same schedule before the strike, and up to 60 percent of domestic flights are in operation. So the heavy workload can result in safety problems.”

Labor-Labor Conflicts-

As the strike prolongs, the airline’s intranet has been inundated with messages criticizing the strike.

One employee said, “The strike only awoke us to the fact that the company has been treating other staff members very differently from the pilots. They can’t justify their strike so they should end it as soon as possible.”

Most of those messages condemn pilots, stating that mere 300 pilots are destroying their workplace, taking passengers and 7,000 other staff members as hostages.

Eighteen pilots have opted out of the union so far including one who broke away from the union on July 20. Asiana Airlines announced on July 20 that it will run 89 (mostly Gimpo-Jeju flights) out of 167 domestic flights and 106 out of 107 international flights on July 21. Both of its two cargo flights have been cancelled.

Jun-Ho Cha run-juno@donga.com