ABOUT 200 strike-breaking Cathay Pacific flight attendants have been moved out of Hongkong to other Asian cities to avoid picket lines at Kai Tak, according to the airline, as both sides appeared to be moving towards a resumption of talks to settle the week-old dispute. Cathay Pacific's managing director, Mr Rod Eddington, said the company had set up bases in Manila, Bangkok, Taipei, Tokyo, Osaka and Singapore to help keep working staff away from Hongkong and maintain key holiday routes over the Lunar New Year. ''Quite a few girls have said they are extremely worried about the picketing, particularly outside their homes,'' Mr Eddington said. ''They did not want to run the gauntlet in Hongkong.'' He said that cabin crew in Manila had first suggested the move. ''We have three flights to Manila each day and need about four crews to man these flights and have four crews based there,'' he said. ''There are also three crews in Tokyo, three in Osaka and a similar number in Bangkok.'' Flight Attendants' Union (FAU) spokeswoman Ms Rachel Varghese claimed the management was holding some crews against their will. Despite the two sides again trading insults and accusing each other of ''dirty tricks'', there appeared to be a glimmer of hope in the dispute, which has now entered its eighth day and is estimated to have cost the company more than $105 million. Mr Eddington said he had approached the union's chairman, Mr David Ngan, late on Tuesday in the hope of restarting negotiations. ''I said, 'Let's get our negotiation teams together as quickly as possible', but Mr Ngan was unwilling to do so,'' he said. Yesterday, union representatives countered that they had asked the company to reconvene talks, but had received no response. Last night, a Cathay spokeswoman said: ''Although we have not been approached formally . . . it seems that the union is now willing to negotiate. Cathay Pacific welcomes this development and will be asking the Labour Department to reconvene talks as soonas possible.'' Both sides said they were willing to enter new negotiations with ''an open mind''. The most recent talks broke down early on Monday with the company saying the union had added the issue of pay to concerns about staffing levels and the sacking of three FAU attendants who refused to ''act down'' and undertake junior duties. The company wants the strikers to return to work before the annual pay deal is discussed. Ms Varghese says the union sees it as a ''major hurdle to cross before we can go back to work''. Yesterday, Cathay cancelled just two of its 47 scheduled outward flights and flew 18 of its own flights into Hongkong of a scheduled 38. A spokeswoman said many of the outstanding flights were chartered to other airlines, but could not give precise figures. ''A lot of crews have been returning back to work and we even had surplus crew this evening,'' she said. Ms Varghese said 3,000 of the 4,000 flight attendants had joined the strike. A crowd of about 800 FAU members held a torchlight demonstration outside the union headquarters at Cathay's Kai Tak headquarters last night. Ms Varghese also claimed that the company was cracking down on strikers using company rooms to store luggage and belongings. ''I suppose they may want to get us out of our office too,'' she said. Mr Eddington rejected allegations that Cathay had rushed the training of new cabin attendants to help man the strike-breaking flights. He said all the Hongkong flag carrier's aircraft were being manned by attendants who had completed the airline's six-week training programme and dismissed as ''nonsense'' claims that unqualified ground crew and wives of company employees had been drafted. Mr Eddington maintained that the company would take disciplinary action against hardline strikers. Asked if they could be sacked, he said: ''If we think it's in the best interests of the airline, yes.'' The strikers received a boost from the International Transport Workers Federation, which wrote to Cathay pledging its support for FAU and threatened to call for action by airline trade unions affiliated to the federation.