• Kyodo

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Taiwan-based China Airlines cancelled some flights to Asia, including Japan, on Friday as its union commenced an “indefinite” strike late Thursday after negotiations with management broke down.

China Airlines announced on its website that beginning Friday, all flights departing between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. from Taoyuan International Airport and Taipei Songshan Airport will be suspended.

The destinations include Hong Kong, Incheon, Manila, and Fukuoka.

It is the first-ever airline crew strike in Taiwan.

Analysts said the union began the strike on the same day that President Tsai Ing-wen departed on her first overseas trip since taking office last month to pressure the administration to tackle the airline’s long-standing problem of long working hours, low pay and insufficient benefits. The government appoints the airline’s chairman and general manager.

Before departing Taoyuan International Airport on Friday morning, Tsai said that the strike must be a last-resort effort by the airline’s crew and that it is an important task of her government to protect the labor rights of the crew and overhaul the carrier.

China Airlines is the largest airline in Taiwan. It operates more than 1,400 flights weekly to over 100 cities across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania.

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