Swire Group

Aircraft workers threaten go-slow

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 October, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 October, 1999, 12:00am

About 1,000 aircraft workers involved in a pay dispute are threatening industrial action they say could affect safety and scheduling of about 300 planes each day.


At the centre of the row is a proposed change in shift allowances, which would scrap overtime payments.


Maintenance staff who work for the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co (Haeco), are now paid 50 per cent extra for every hour they work outside the 8am to 5pm period.


But on Wednesday, Haeco, the biggest flight maintenance company in Hong Kong, said hours outside the 8am to 5pm period would be paid at the same rate as normal working hours.


Haeco Employee Union spokesman Tsang Kwong-chi said shift allowances amounted to 60 per cent of many workers' total income.


'We are willing to accept a lower level of income, but the scrapping of the time zone is totally unacceptable because it changes our earnings substantially,' he said.


Mr Tsang said at least 1,000 staff had vowed to go slow and spurn overtime if the firm did not begin talks on the issue by Saturday.


Company managing director Chan Ping-kit said 'work-to-rule' action would not affect services.


'Haeco has contingency plans in place and we are confident that any work-to-rule actions by a small number of staff will not affect our operations. Nor will safety be compromised,' he said.


Mr Chan said the change to payments had been endorsed by a committee which included staff representatives.


In a letter to staff on Wednesday, Mr Chan said workers should accept the changes or opt for redundancy.


The company's profit for the first half of this year dropped 55 per cent to $63.2 million.