Home > Airlines > Cathay pilots to start Work-To-Rule plans, may hurt flights

Cathay pilots to start Work-To-Rule plans, may hurt flights

12/04/2014| 5:06:19 PM|

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (293)’s pilots union will do only what’s required by their contracts starting today after discussions about pay failed, potentially leading to flight delays at Asia’s biggest international carrier.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (293)’s pilots union will do only what’s required by their contracts starting today after discussions about pay failed, potentially leading to flight delays at Asia’s biggest international carrier.

Unionized pilots will start the so-called “contract compliance,” in which officials will perform their assigned duties in strict conformance with their agreements, the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association said on its website yesterday. About 1,700 members based in Hong Kong, New Zealand and the U.S. will be asked to comply with the work-to-rule plans, it said.

Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s biggest carrier, said in a statement it’s “extremely disappointed.” “This action is uncalled for, unnecessary and unproductive,” it said.

Last month, union members authorized leaders to take a decision on the work-to-rule campaign should talks about pay fail. With employees putting in only as much effort as is stipulated, operations at the busy Christmas and year-end period may be disrupted with flight cancellations and delays, the South China Morning Post newspaper said on its website, citing unidentified pilots.

The airline will do its best to to keep normal operations, it said in an e-mailed statement today, without disclosing any details on disruptions.

“It’s unfortunate that a year of negotiations has brought us to this point,” Chris Beebe, general secretary of the HKAOA said in the statement. “The HKAOA looks forward to resuming talks with management for a fairer, more equitable agreement on pay,” he said. The union has more than 2,000 members, according to its website.

No Discussions

Although the expected long-term salary deal wasn’t reached this year, the company hopes that the pay award announced at the end of last month would allow both sides to close the year on a “positive note,” Cathay said yesterday, without disclosing details of the remuneration package. Discussions with the union have been put on hold, the airline said.

Today, Cathay announced a separate pay raise for more than 90 percent of its Hong Kong-based staff, including ground staff and cabin crew, averaging 4.5 percent in 2015. The airline will also offer a discretionary one-month bonus for 2014 to eligible staff, Cathay said in a statement today.

The last time the pilots union went on a contract compliance plan was in 2001 and it went for an “extended period of time with no substantial disruption to flight services,” the carrier said.

Rejecting Offer

The union’s members voted in October to reject an offer from the Hong Kong-based airline of a 10 percent pay increase over three years.

In 2012, the airline and its flight attendants union agreed on a labor deal in the third week of December, averting the threat of possible industrial action through the Christmas travel period.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA), Europe’s second-biggest airline, said on Dec. 3 that a strike that began Dec. 1 will affect flights for the rest of the week after its pilot union called a further walkout for Dec. 4. The Vereinigung Cockpit union told pilots flying long-haul and cargo aircraft to strike in what would be the 10th action this year.

Lufthansa scrapped 1,350 flights during a strike than ran from midday on Dec. 1 through midnight Dec. 2, or almost half its timetable, while 29 flights were showing as scrapped on its website on Dec. 3 in the aftermath.

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TAGS: Cathay Pacific | pilot union | labor
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