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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Could Go On Strike

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Unless the Hong Kong-based airline improves post-pandemic working conditions, the Cathay Pacific flight attendant union reports that its members have unanimously voted in favor of supporting any action, which may include a protracted strike from Christmas to the Chinese New Year.

The flight attendants union said at an emergency general meeting on Tuesday that all participants in the voting supported the union’s position. A spokeswoman stated that nothing had been ruled out, but neither had a final decision been made.

The union recently warned Cathay Pacific CEO Augustus Tang that the airline’s cabin crew was “near the end of their rope” due to extended working hours and short rest periods.

The airline is trying to restore its schedule and network with the loosening of some of the strictest pandemic restrictions in the world, and the union has gone so far as to call working conditions “inhumane.”

Cathay Pacific has been slammed by Hong Kong’s response to the pandemic and “cabin Crew have gone through tremendous redundancy, permanent pay cut along with endless COVID testing and prolonged isolation and quarantine,” the letter to Tang continued.

Shorter rest periods during long-haul flight sequences and reduced days off after other hectic and demanding flights are key sources of worry for cabin crew.

The airline’s move to limit the number of flight attendants working a trip, increasing their duty with little additional pay, has upset the cabin staff as well.

Although Cathay Pacific acknowledges having some rostering concerns, the airline claims these were only momentary while it built up its schedule. Many of these rostering issues, according to the airline, have already been resolved for flights in January.

The airline also claims that as the recovery progresses, it is actively hiring thousands of additional cabin crew.

“We ask for our crew’s patience as we continue to resolve the remaining issues as our network is restored,” a spokesperson for the airline continued. Cathay Pacific insists there are no safety issues associated with its rostering practices.

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