Cathay Pacific

Cathay talks deadlocked as work-to-rule action looms

Cathay staff could start work-to-rule today with both sides deadlocked after marathon talks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 December, 2012, 10:58am

Talks to head off industrial action on Cathay Pacific flights were deadlocked early this morning as the airline made a last-ditch effort to avoid industrial action over Christmas.

The meeting involving Cathay management, the Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Union and the Labour Department began at 11am yesterday and was still going on after 1am.

A source with knowledge of the meeting said three items were on the agenda and that the sides were "still trying to resolve the last item".

The source said the union planned to go ahead with a work-to-rule today at the earliest if the dispute was not resolved. It has already sent an "action guidebook" to its 6,000 members about how their action should be carried out.

The dispute was prompted on November 30 when the airline announced a 2 per cent pay rise for its cabin crew, well below the 5 per cent the union had been demanding.

The source said the union was willing to drop its insistence on the higher pay rise but called for the airline to compromise on three issues in return.

It wanted a cross-base work arrangement to be scrapped as it feared this could lead to the airline using non-local crew to replace local workers.

Another demand was to suspend "red-eye flights", which require cabin crew to work overnight with only one hour rest between shifts.

Lastly, they wanted a review of flight patterns so cabin crew could get more rest and outpost allowances at overseas destinations.

The union's chairwoman, Dora Lai Yuk-sim, said during a lunch break that the airline was "actively listening" to their demands but there were still a lot of details to be covered.

The meeting came after eight hours of talks between the three sides on Tuesday failed to achieve a breakthrough.

If a work-to-rule is carried out, the union estimated earlier that it would delay each flight by about 20 minutes. The union had considered not serving meals and alcohol to passengers as part of their industrial action.