Nine pilots threaten resignation
By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-23 06:19
NANJING: Nine pilots are promising to resign from a domestic airline after
failing to reach agreement with their employers.
But Nanjing-based China Eastern Airlines (CEA) Jiangsu Ltd said on Tuesday
that they are still working to patch up their differences.
"We are still trying to persuade them to stay," said Lin Yi, a top company
The situation has been complicated by postings on the Internet claiming to be
from one of the nine disgruntled pilots.
Joseph 75, the supposed pilot's username, published a letter on several local
websites last weekend, claiming that pilots in the company had not been paid
properly and criticising the airlines' management and safety.
"We talked with the leaders of the company several times, but they paid no
attention to our rational appeals for better pay. So we have no choice but to
resign," said Joseph 75's letter.
Whoever is behind the postings has now gone to ground, telling reporters it
is not the right time to give an interview or any further information.
Lin rejects Joseph 75's accusations and has even threatened legal action.
"As for the person who posted untrue information about the company on the
Internet, we will try to find out who he is and take him to court," Lin said.
Speaking on behalf of the company, Lin denied that CEA Jiangsu has safety and
According to Lin, the dispute is mainly about pay. The annual salary offered
by CEA Jiangsu is lower than that offered by other similar airlines, local media
But Lin insisted that CEA Jiangsu pilots' pay was "definitely higher than the
average level in the country."
Sources with CEA Jiangsu's Media Relations Department told China Daily that
the dispute is also connected to the employment of family members of the nine
Pilots' family members are often given well-paid jobs within the company, the
sources claimed, a privilege that has not been extended to the nine pilots.
None of the nine pilots has admitted to being Joseph 75, the sources added.
The company announced yesterday that the nine pilots have stopped flying, but
are still employed by the company and are in negotiations with company leaders.
Lin said that, as CEA Jiangsu had invested a lot of time and money in the
pilots' training, the company hopes to resolve the problems and have the pilots
return to work as soon as possible.
He added that the loss of the pilots will not influence the normal operation
of the company as they have 170 pilots to fly their 14 aeroplanes.
According to analysts, the resignation threats may have been triggered by the
current shortage of pilots.
Statistics from the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC)
show that Chinese airlines, which have seen annual customer numbers rise of 38
per cent, are expected to face a shortage of 40,000 pilots in the following 20
Facing such a shortage, in July CAAC raised pilots' statutory retirement age
from 60 to 63.
This step alone is not enough to solve the problem. Several airlines have
raised pay to attract pilots from other companies, analysts said.
(China Daily 11/23/2005 page3)