Cathay facing union action by flight attendants

A Cathay attendant. (PHOTO: Shutterstock) union representing Cathay Pacific flight attendants said on Friday (30 December) that it may start a so-called work-to-rule industrial action during the Lunar New Year if the airline does not resolve conflicts over rostering and manpower issues. Lunar New Year is scheduled to start on 22 January this year.

Representatives of the union told a press conference on Friday that everything is now ready and flights may be delayed as workers starts the work-to-rule movement. They also said they will consider all actions including going on strike.

The union said the base salary and hourly rate of flight attendants decreased by 14 to 36 percent in their new contracts, following the mass layoff in October 2020. New clauses also change the calculation method of attendants’ working hours and extra flying hours won’t be included after switching shifts with co-workers under the new contracts.

The union said they are not asking for too much by requesting the carrier to increase the number of staffers for returning flights and to introduce minimal rest time during overseas layovers. The union also called on Cathay to resume regular meetings with flight attendants and to review the clauses of the new contracts.

Cathay said in reply that basic salary is just part of the remuneration for cabin crew. “While our capacity remains constrained, pay will be lower than we want it to be for a while. As our capacity increases, pay will also increase,” the airline said in its statement.  Cathay also said many of the rostering issues have been resolved for the January roster, and the improvements will continue in the February roster and beyond. “We believe layover patterns will improve gradually when frequencies increase and the temporary measures with additional crew members onboard certain flights will be updated accordingly,” the airline said.

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