China Eastern Fires Korean Flight Attendants

  • By Kim Kang-han

    March 11, 2020 11:39

    China Eastern Airlines has fired 73 Korean flight attendants by refusing to renew their annual contracts, but renewed the contracts of other flight attendants from coronavirus hotbeds like Japan and Italy.

    According to industry insiders, China Eastern informed the Korean flight attendants on Monday that they would be laid off on Wednesday due to a "relatively huge impact on management caused by changes in the overall airline industry."

    Around 200 Korean flight attendants work for China Eastern, both as permanent and contract employees. The Korean staff say they are being discriminated against because although flights to Japan and Italy have also been curtailed due to the coronavirus epidemic, workers from those countries were kept on.

    The contract workers had expected to become permanent staff because airline sent them notices last week about health check-ups and uniform applications related to the upgrade.

    China Eastern had set the employment terms of the contract flight attendants from March 12 until resignation when new job contracts were signed in May last year. They intend to sue China Eastern.

    A staffer at China Eastern said, "Employment contract terms differ by nationality, and those of Japanese staff are renewed each year. We did not fire the Korean staff, but their contracts have expired and we will pay them retirement bonuses as well as two months' worth of pay."

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