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AVIATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Aircrew unions demand fairer treatment from Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific recently axed 5,300 Hong Kong employees.

The Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association (HKAOA) and Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union (FAU) have come together to seek greater consultation, fairer membership treatment, and extension of termination deadline by Cathay Pacific.

The airline has recently axed 5,300 Hong Kong-based jobs in October due to a major corporate overhaul.

Pilot and cabin crew who were not made redundant were given up to 14 days to either sign a new contract with up to 58% pay cut or be terminated. By the end of the consent period, 2,613 pilots and 7,346 cabin crews signed the contract, Cathay Pacific said.

HKAOA chairperson Ted Hazelton stated that Cathay Pacific’s treatment of both HKAOA and FAU membership has been unfair.

“The deadline set by the company to sign the inferior new contract, or accept automatic termination, gives them little to no choice in making an informed decision about their future, impacting their lives and that of their families,” he said.

FAU chairperson Zuki Wong Sze-Man noted that the new contract should not be permanent.

“This restructuring was presented to the FAU and HKAOA with zero notice and zero involvement. We had been trying to establish a channel of communications with Cathay Pacific in the past week,” she said.

Wong added that whilst Cathay Pacific agreed to meet the two unions with the Hong Kong Labor Department, the company is not directly responding to their requests.

However, Cathay Pacific said in a press release they had held seven meetings with HKAOA and FAU and had hosted seven live forums to answer frequently asked questions in their internal employee site, along with enquiries from pilots and cabin crews.

The company also reported that the restructuring will reduce its operating cash burn by about HK$500m per month, bringing it down to around HK$1.5b per month.
  

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