CATHAY Pacific pilots were becoming increasingly concerned about safety and the way the company was treating them as the strike by cabin crews continued into its 12th day yesterday. The pilots were worried that they were being forced to work longer hours with less rest, one said yesterday. He claimed that in some instances, flight attendants were working over their allowable shifts, and some exceeding their shifts by four hours during long hauls. Crew members were also being told to stay in ports other than those they had chosen after long flights, he alleged. But the company last night denied both claims and stressed that the captain on each flight had the ultimate responsibility for safety. ''Some pilots are being required to work [too] often,'' said the pilot, who declined to be identified. ''We are being required to work hours that we normally don't.'' After long flights to Europe or North America, pilots often take off more than the three-day minimum to compensate for jet lag, he said. But now pilots were often being drawn back to work after the minimum period of rest. Although within requirements, this could put pilots at risk, the pilot said. ''When the crew is not rested, safety becomes a big question mark,'' he said. ''Cathay pilots are getting a hard time. A number of us have been away for the past week, but the company hasn't been playing fair with us by telling us what has been happening. We're being told to go places we don't want to go.'' Pilots had been caught in the middle of the fight, he added. ''We are seeing a lot of disinformation from both sides, but really, none of us has any faith in the company at the moment. They may lose money in the short term, but in the long term, they are losing the favour of the crews.'' Cathay airline pilots were also standing firm on a vote of no-confidence passed against management last month, he said. He claimed the company had also been spending money to attract people back to work and those who do report in were given special treatment. A spokesman for the airline dismissed the allegations. ''I can categorically say that both these claims are untrue. Safety has always been our priority and is still the first concern. ''All our records of flying hours and operations are kept by the Civil Aviation Department. These are public documents and can be seen by anybody. ''There is no way that any of our pilots are being over-worked during the dispute for the simple reason that we still have had the same number of cockpit crew available for far less Cathay flights.'' He said that guaranteed days off and rest periods were also unaffected by the strike. ''It is ultimately the captain's responsibility to prevent any staff from working outside their permitted hours.'' Most Cathay pilots worked about 70 flying hours a month and the legal limit was near 100, he added. The company had set up the bases in outports after requests from their own flight attendants. ''The crew had expressed concern about having to cross the picket line at Kai Tak and said they would rather not have to do that. We responded to their wishes. ''In fact two of our overseas crews based in Bangkok and Tokyo have come back to Hongkong since the number of strikers at the airport has reduced over the last few days.''