THE leader of the cabin crew union involved in Cathay Pacific's recent strike is to face the first election battle of his eight years in office, it emerged yesterday. Mr David Ngan will be challenged for the chairman's post in the Flight Attendants' Union (FAU) by chief purser Mr Stephen Ho at the union's annual general meeting next month. FAU sources say Mr Ho decided to stand after Mr Ngan and his deputy, Ms Courtenay Chong, refused to step down following the Lunar New Year strike. A group of disgruntled members organised a petition calling for Mr Ngan to resign after the dispute, but he refused to step aside. Mr Ngan and the rest of the union's six-member executive committee are due to stand for re-election at the May meeting. If Mr Ngan is returned it would be his fifth stint as chairman. There will be at least two changes to the ruling group following the resignations of former FAU spokeswoman Ms Rachel Varghese and treasurer Ms Lina Chung. The rebel group will also nominate alternative candidates to contest the other seats on the committee, one union member said. Mr Ngan and Ms Chong are the only two FAU strikers who have still not returned to flight duties since the strike, although they have been rostered to work since the action was abandoned. The union represents 3,237 of Cathay's 4,160 cabin crew. The airline's managing director, Mr Rod Eddington, has stated in the past that whoever represents the cabin crew should have the majority support of the workforce. A union colleague of Mr Ho said: ''Stephen believes that the FAU needs a new approach and that must come from the top. ''There is a growing feeling in the union that the current leadership is too extreme and not representative of the general membership. ''We are confident that Stephen will win because his views are nearer to the majority of the cabin crew. It is just a question of getting the people out to vote for him.'' A meeting called by Mr Ngan to discuss a demand by the company for the FAU to move out of its Kai Tak office was attended by only 60 trade unionists, the member added. The union decided to ask Cathay to find another office for it in the airline's headquarters in Concorde Road. Cathay has given the union until the end of the month to move out. Nobody from the FAU was available for comment yesterday.