Cathay Pacific yesterday rejected as a publicity stunt an offer by its pilots' union to hold a formal meeting. Cathay's director of corporate development, Tony Tyler, said the offer was just part of the union's public relations campaign and their statements contained nothing new of substance. The general secretary of the Aircrew Officers' Association, John Findlay, claimed the company had misreported the content of previous informal 'talks about talks'. 'It is for this reason that we invite management to meet formally . . . the ball is clearly in their court,' he said. Mr Findlay said Cathay was wrong to say the union had rejected an offer in the informal talks for pilots to be allowed to individually reapply for their jobs. That was because union representatives at the meeting did not have the power to accept or reject any offer, and nothing was in writing, he said. The airline had broken an agreement that the subject of discussion at informal talks would not be made public, he said. Mr Tyler said the union had broken the confidentiality agreement first by revealing details to members in their communications. He said the company's account to employees of the informal talks was accurate and pilots had rejected the company's offer. Management would not negotiate while industrial action on pay and rostering continued. The company also could not agree to the union's position that sacked pilots should be reinstated unconditionally. Mr Findlay said Cathay was mis-stating the position but, when asked to clarify, said he did not wish to negotiate through the media. He said Cathay's refusal of an offer of formal negotiations - leaving the choice of venue up to the company and the option of using the conciliation services of the Labour Department - was disappointing. The union yesterday issued a newsletter to members saying that if the pilots were dismissed for a reason they should have been given access to the normal disciplinary appeals procedure at the time. They were not. But if they were dismissed for no particular reason, as management had told them, then the company's action was an industrial tool to intimidate members. 'How can your team consider shelving its industrial tools if management refuses to respond in kind . . . We cannot trade the 49ers [sacked pilots] for a contract,' the newsletter said.