Threat of Cathay cabin crew strikes lifted

Threatened industrial action by cabin crew at Cathay Pacific, including withholding food, alcohol and even smiles from passengers, has been lifted.

The settlement of a dispute over pay and working conditions means the airline has averted what could have been a difficult busy holiday season with hundreds of scheduled flights disrupted.

Cabin crew represented by the Flight Attendants Union in Hong Kong last week voted in favour of a work-to-rule, which could have delayed flights over the Christmas and new year peak travel period.

Working to rule means the employees do no more than the minimum work required in their contracts.

The union, which represents about two-thirds of all cabin crew, was asking for a 5% pay raise from next year.

The airline did not move on its offer of a 2% raise but agreed to longer rest time on certain flight patterns.

The union said that its concerns had been resolved.

The carrier also agreed to keep crew based outside Hong Kong to a maximum of 15% of total cabin crew staff for the next two years.

The union had said employees were worried about jobs potentially going overseas.

Chief executive John Slosar called the deal “the best possible outcome”.

General manager cabin crew Liza Ng said: “The agreement we reached today addresses issues important to the company and the crew. It is incumbent upon the company to always ensure its long-term success when discussing short-term issues. We were able to accomplish that today.”

The airline and the FAU jointly agreed on changes to some “lifestyle issues” deemed important to cabin crew. Cathay Pacific will trial new initiatives including service flow and enhanced rest times covering late night flights.

Slosar said: “This is a good agreement for the company. It allows us to expand our business here at home, bringing even more services to the people of Hong Kong. Specifically, we maintain the flexibility we need to offer what our customers want us to provide.

“Beyond that, we were able to look after the interests of the broader cabin crew community in terms of addressing lifestyle issues, which is important because we must keep the interests of all staff at heart. And we have demonstrated that we will listen to staff concerns and respond with appropriate solutions.”

He added: “We’re now ready to redouble our efforts to ensure a pleasant experience for all of our customers over the holidays.”

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.