Dragonair strike threat averted

23 Aug 2010

Dragonair and its cabin crew reached an agreement over the weekend, resolving a dispute over working hours and averting a proposed strike.

On Friday, August 20, 2010, the Dragonair Flight Attendants Association announced a plan to stage industrial action. Association chairman Winnie Poon cited a protest held earlier, “but our demand has not been met,” she said, adding: “with insuffiencient rest time, service quality might be affected”.

Poon reported that since June cabin crew disatisfaction had been mounting against the additional work hours the attendants had not been originally rostered for. She said that some found themselves working from 12 to 15 hours.

Dragonair management said it was aware of the pressure and heavy workload its employees had to go through and promised to put new measures in place. These included recruiting an additional 50 cabin crew and operating charter flights on selected sectors temporarily. Allowances will also be offered to cabin crew who volunteer to work on their days off as well as those who work on flights with less than the desired number of cabin crew.

If the strike had materialised, it would have been the first by Dragonair flight attendants since the carrier launched commercial flights in 1985. The airline is now a member of the Cathay Pacific group.

Hongkong government officials, who had been monitoring the dispute, welcomed the outcome. Secretary for Labour Matthew Cheung praised both sides for demonstrating "that with sincerity and mutual understanding, differences could be worked out".

Margie T Logarta

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