Cathay faces huge payout as court backs flight attendants

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2012, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2012, 6:42pm

Cathay Pacific lost a long-running dispute with its flight attendants over holiday pay, in the city’s top court on Wednesday.

Quashing the airline’s challenge against an appeal court judgment, the Court of Final Appeal ruled that Cathay should include some allowances and commissions when it calculates its cabin crew’s holiday pay.

The calculation should take into account commissions on duty-free sales, and allowances for line duty and ground duty, earned by attendants in the air and while waiting for flights, the court ruled.

The dispute involved some 4,400 attendants and about HK$100 million in pay, the Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union said.

It stemmed from claims lodged with the Labour Tribunal about four years ago by flight attendants Becky Kwan Siu-wa, Vera Wu Yee-mei and Jenny Ho Kit-man.

The tribunal initially ruled in their favour and ordered Cathay to pay the shortfall, but the airline won on appeal. That ruling was overturned last year by the Court of Appeal.

The union welcomed Wednesday’s ruling, saying it helped to clarify the meaning of holiday pay for employees.

“It helps to avoid further disputes between the employers and employees on this issue,” the union said in a statement.

According to the union, more than 4,000 attendants have filed Labour Tribunal claims for the pay.