Flight International online news 0:900GMT: South Korea’s government has implemented emergency powers ordering striking Asiana Airlines pilots to return to work immediately.

Talks yesterday between the Asiana Pilots Union and the Star Alliance carrier failed and late that day the government ordered the striking pilots to return to work.

The two sides now have up to 30 days to negotiate an agreement. If talks fail the National Labour Relations Commission will decide on the matter by implementing binding arbitration.

South Korean media reports say this is only the third time in the country’s history that such emergency powers have been implemented – the first time was in 1963 to end a strike at Korea Shipbuilding and the second was in 1998 to end a strike at Hyundai Motor.

The Korea Herald said yesterday police were sent to a resort, where many of the striking pilots have been camped out, to ensure they abide by the intervention order to return to work.

It says those who ignore the intervention order may be prosecuted and jailed up to two years and fined as much as 20 million won ($20,000).

Asiana estimates it has lost 404 billion ($400 million) won in revenue as a result of the actions by around 500 of its 839 pilots, who went on strike on 17 July.

During this time nearly all of the carrier’s international cargo services and half its domestic flights have been cancelled. More recently Asiana has also had to cancel some international passenger services across 16 routes.

Asiana says it will take 2-3 weeks for operations to return to normal. Many of the 500-odd striking pilots will be required to take flight tests and physical check-ups before being allowed to operate aircraft again because they have been away from work for so long.


Source: Flight International