Last minute Cathay Pacific deal averts industrial action
Cathay Pacific and its flight attendants agreed on a proposal to improve flight patterns and other work arrangements on Thursday afternoon, ending a three-week dispute and avoiding industrial action over Christmas.
The airline’s management and Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Union both signed an agreement at the end of a one-hour meeting on Thursday afternoon.
Earlier, a round of talks lasting 20 hours that had begun on Wednesday had not proved fruitful. The union had threatened to launch a work-to-rule as early as Friday if their employers did not respond to a new proposal they put forward.
Union chairwoman Dora Lai Yuk-sim said after the latest meeting that the airline had accepted a new proposal that would improve a cross-base work arrangement, flight patterns and the so-called “red-eye flights”.
“We are very happy we have finally come to mutual agreement following two days of talks,” she said.
The agreement, which will be effective for two years starting January, will restrict the increase of non-local cabin crews to no more than 15 per cent.
It will give more rest time and a special HK$500 allowance on the so-called “red-eye flights” – two continual, overnight shifts with only one hour rest in between.
The new arrangement will also review flight patterns to give more rest time and outpost allowances at overseas destinations.
Lai said the agreement was satisfactory and able to address most of the union’s demands.
“These changes will actually improve employees’ income,” she said.
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 union once offered to give up the 2 per cent rise offer in exchange of changing the work arrangements.