Cathay Pacific flight attendants joined forces with pilots yesterday to demand that management reopen talks with them on a controversial pay proposal. In a first joint meeting between the attendants and pilots, union leaders said they were calling on the company to return to the negotiating table and start again from scratch. The union leaders also urged flight attendants to demand that the company return letters they had submitted which contained their agreement to a pay plan. The scheme would force attendants to give up their annual unconditional pay increase they had received for 35 years in exchange for a 3.5 per cent increase they could only receive if they agreed to work four more hours each month. If the company refused to reopen negotiations, union leaders said they would take action, but refused to say whether they would resort to industrial action. 'We do have a carefully formulated plan of action,' said Ted Pleavin, president of the pilots' union, the Aircrew Officers Association, speaking on behalf of the Flight Attendants Union shortly after yesterday's meeting. A protest is due to be held at the clock tower in Tsim Sha Tsui tomorrow. Pilots said they were lending their support to flight attendants because they believed the company was trying to weaken staff unions. 'It's our opinion that it is their intention to undermine the unions as a step to obtaining a change of contractual conditions,' said Mr Pleavin, whose union represents 1,111 of Cathay's 1,300 pilots. The company sparked outrage from the Flight Attendants Union last week when it asked attendants to return individual acceptance letters after the union had already agreed to the company's pay proposal. Union leaders accused the company of side-stepping the union and immediately withdrew their endorsement of the proposal. However, Cathay officials said they were bound by law to obtain individual consent before they could change terms of employment. Individual letters of consent would help protect the company from any problems with staff members, officials said. Tom Wright, Cathay Pacific's general manager, said that the company would in future continue to consult the union and negotiate with it. 'We have had a long relationship with unions. We have three unions we've dealt with and worked well with,' Mr Wright said. But union leaders said Cathay did not need to obtain individual consent as it had a 23-year history of the union entering into agreements with management on behalf of staff without any problems.