Bonus seals Cathay deal

Top News | Sophie Hui 8 Dec 2017

Cathay Pacific Airways flight attendants and ground crew will receive a 1 percent pay rise next year while most of its staff will get a one-month bonus.

The Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union - which represents 70 percent or 7,200 of its Hong Kong-based flight attendants - said while members will not get the 3.5 percent pay increase that they had proposed, the one-month bonus will compensate for it.

FAU leader Vera Wu Yee-mei described the two-week negotiations as tough and stressed the union "tried really hard" to fight for its members.

She said in the end FAU reluctantly accepted the 1 percent pay rise and no industrial action would follow.

"The negotiations were tough as the company's stance was firm during the first few days of talks," Wu said.

"Initially, they refused to respond to any of our demands."

She said the union realized Cathay could not give employees a 3.5 percent pay rise as it faces intense competition from other airlines.

Besides, Cathay was also undergoing a three-year organizational restructure, Wu added.

"The company explained to us how difficult its situation is and we understand their difficulties," she said.

"But we hope the airline can share its success with staff when it regains profitability in the future."

Wu said she was generally satisfied with the results.

"The company listened to our demands, and discussed them at management level."

The union is also satisfied all cabin crew and ground staff will be given an ex-gratia payment equivalent to one month's salary, she said. They will receive the pay rise next year.

Wu added that after a dispute lasting 17 years, the union and Cathay finally reached a deal to resume the induction talk for new staff from next month. That talk will let newcomers learn about the flight attendants' union.

She said the pay negotiations have not harmed the morale of staff, who welcomed the bonus.

Cathay also extended for three more years - until 2020 - the current outport-based crew agreement, which will protect Hong Kong-based cabin crew.

Cathay Pacific said it had "engaged with different staff representative groups" and it "has listened to the requests of our people and understand their expectations concerning year-end arrangements."

The airline added: "To look after the needs of our junior and middle-level colleagues and in appreciation of our team's contribution during the year - despite the difficult financial environment we are in - an ex-gratia payment will be paid to eligible Level A, B and C staff."

Wu said discussions between Cathay and the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers' Association - which represents the airline's pilots - are ongoing.

She said FAU will support HKAOA.

FAU will also support the flight attendants and pilots union of Hong Kong Dragon Airlines in their talks with the company.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com

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