Cathay Pacific flight attendants have backed down on their threat of a no-smiles campaign and offered to work unpaid overtime to keep their automatic pay rises. Union leaders had considered industrial action including refusing to smile for an hour on each flight after the airline refused to give them their annual pay rise unconditionally this year. But the Flight Attendants' Union said yesterday it wanted to work with the company to reach a compromise instead of resorting to drastic action that could hurt business. 'We want to co-operate with the company. It's more important that we solve problems and not create problems,' said union chairwoman Becky Kwan Siu-wa. Yesterday, flight attendants offered to fly up to four hours of unpaid overtime each month, but only for this year. A Cathay spokeswoman said company officials would try to give the union a reply today. Flight attendants had last week offered to give up this year's bonus, but the company rejected the offer and the union has since rescinded it. Previously, staff had agreed to stay at cheaper hotels, reduce sick leave and take a cut in meals and housing allowances, which along with other cost-cutting measures would help the company achieve its savings target of $274 million for this year. 'They wanted money, we gave them money. But they weren't happy. Now we're giving them the increased flying hours. If they won't accept this, it will show they have a different agenda all along,' Ms Kwan said. But attendants said they feared the company would reject their latest offer because it was trying to use the economic downturn to make long-term changes to their employment conditions. Cathay had wanted its 4,800 non-contractual flight attendants to permanently increase their maximum flying hours from 72 to 76 hours per month to earn a 3.5 per cent rise. The company has refused to guarantee that automatic pay rises would resume once business improved.