Cathay Pacific

Industrial action imminent if Cathay Pacific dispute not resolved

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2012, 3:29am

The union representing Cathay Pacific Airways flight attendants will go ahead with industrial action as early as tomorrow if it cannot resolve disputes with the airline at a meeting today.

Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Union's chairwoman Dora Lai Yuk-sim said after an eight-hour meeting between the airline, the union and the Labour Department yesterday that the parties had exchanged views in a constructive manner.

But she said that if today's meeting failed to resolve the dispute, industrial action - a work-to-rule or provision of limited services - could start tomorrow.

"We believe there has been good progress made today," a spokesman for the airline said.

A source with knowledge of yesterday's meeting said that four issues had been discussed.

In the first, the airline had agreed to scrap a proposal in which cabin crew flying to Riyadh would not get a night's rest in a hotel there, instead having to rest in-flight on the return journey to Hong Kong. This had been criticised by the 6,000-strong union as "exhausting" and "inhuman" for the cabin crew.

The source said that the union was willing to give up its demand for a pay rise above the 2 per cent offered by the airline if Cathay meets three other demands.

These are: the scrapping of a cross-base flying scheme for non-local crew; the suspension of "red-eye flights", where cabin crew have to work overnight with only one hour between shifts; and a review of flight patterns in a way that cabin crew members can get more rest at destinations outside Hong Kong.

The airline's representatives at the meeting said they did not understand the union's fears that the cross-base flying scheme for non-local crew would see local crews replaced, said the source.

The union also asked that the airline set a ratio between local and non-local crew, but Cathay has not committed itself to that.

The airline said it would try to come up with different flight patterns but the source said it gave the impression that "it's about saving cost".