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October, 26, 2016

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China Airlines chairman urges protesters to 'be rational'

In a letter to company employees yesterday, China Airlines (CAL) Chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan (何煖軒) implored his staff to "be rational" and said he was watching out for the interests of company staff and shareholders.

Ho's appeal was made following a protest by CAL's flight attendants last Friday, during which as many as 500 eggs were smashed on CAL's Taipei headquarters. The protesters claimed that management had failed to honor five of the seven pledges it made in a deal brokered with company staff earlier.

"For many of you, it was your first time throwing eggs. While your facial expression showed joy after tossing out eggs, some were startled and ashamed to see the smeared company sign and the broken eggshell-littered ground (in the aftermath)."

"I believe most flight attendants are good-natured," the chairman said, adding that he had trouble comprehending the intention of "instigators."

Labor groups and activists are supposed to fight for base-level workers' right and interest and the sustainability of their careers, he wrote. Though ostensibly defending CAL's sustainable development, these "instigators" are doing the opposite of facilitating consensus between the company and its employees. They appear to focus their attention on "causing turmoil," Ho said.

"My stance is very clear. I must keep in mind the trust of CAL's thousands of customers, CAL's sustainable development, and the interests of its shareholders as well as company staff."

"For those who would like to work with us, let's build a bright future together. I even lowered my head and yielded when needed," Ho said. "As for unreasonable demand that aims to destroy this family, I cannot consent to it."

I'd Rather Withstand the Egging

So many people worked their whole life to polish the plum blossom on the CAL sign, Ho said, referring the company sign desecrated by the egging at the company headquarters.

"I would rather have the 500 eggs thrown at my body instead of at the sign," Ho said.

Did these protesters think about the 12,000 other CAL employees who were bewildered by the pelting, he asked.

The newly appointed chairman said that he was confronted with a worker strike on his first day at CAL. It was with a sincere heart that he tried to carry on a conversation with the emotional protesters.

For many people, it is hard to trace the origin of the protesters' anger, Ho said, since they were neither fired employees nor unfairly exploited laborers.

Proper communication is the key to resolve the current quagmire, Ho said. "If from the bottom of your heart you do not wish to wear this plum blossom pin, then don't. But if you wear the pin, let us resolve disagreement and seek consensus."

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