Flight attendants of Cathay Pacific (CX) are meeting on Monday, April 5, 2010 to decide whether to go on strike or conduct a work slowdown, Hongkong’s South China Morning Post has reported.
Members of the Flight Attendants Union (FAU) have been unhappy for several weeks now over recent policy changes that they deem have hurt their pay and lifestyle. About 800 staff demonstrated outside CX headquarters in Hongkong last week to show their disatisfaction with new work guidelines.
The airline, however, published a clarification on its website. According to Charlie Stewart-Cox, general manager inflight service, who has been leading the CX team in the discussions with FAU, the issue that originally triggered cabin crew’s concern involved the change to the guideline for flight attendants to swap flights. “That guideline has already been cancelled, and will not be reintroduced,” he said.
He said the idea of swapping guidelines had come about because of the company’s need to address the growing incidences of a small minority of crew consistently swapping well below the minimum guarantee of 70 hours a month.
He said that the airline was simply asking the FAU was to include in an agreement with them a clause stating that the ISD Management (inflight service department) will look into this problem and will discuss with them any proposals to address and solve it. “It was our goal to work with the FAU on this issue and to keep them fully informed of any proposed solution.”
The FAU apparently remains skeptical of CX’s moves, and hence has stepped up agitation activities.
Votes will be cast on whether to strike or “work to rule”, which means the staff will follow the rules when going about their duties, which could result in delays. For example, they could run a security check before allowing passengers to board, and the procedure that normally takes between five and 10 minutes could stretch to 30 minutes.
Any union action could take place as early as Tuesday, April 6, which would be significant as most Hongkong residents would be returning from their Easter holidays.
Hongkong’s labour department has invited the two parties to resume talks on Wednesday, April 7.
For more visit www.cathaypacific.com
Margie T Logarta