Flight crews threaten no smile, no booze

2012-12-11 13:00

Hong Kong - Cathay Pacific flight crews may stop serving alcohol and smiling at passengers after voting in favour of industrial action during the Christmas holidays over a salary dispute, their union said on Tuesday.

The Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union, which is demanding a 5% salary increase from Hong Kong's flagship carrier, said the "work-to-rule" measures could also throw flight schedules into chaos.

"We will be selective in providing our services," union general secretary Tsang Kwok-fung said, adding that the form and date of the action approved in Monday's vote is yet to be decided.

"This could include not smiling at passengers, not providing certain types of beverages - such as alcohol - or stop serving meals," he said.

"In a nutshell it means passengers will still be able to reach their destinations except they are paying a five-star price to get a three-star service," Tsang said.

Work-to-rule is a form of industrial action in which employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of their contract, sometimes adhering to safety or other regulations precisely in order to cause a slowdown.

2% pay rise offer

"We will follow the rules strictly, such as offloading oversize luggage, that could cause a slowdown or even delay of flights," Tsang said.

The protest was sparked by Cathay's announcement last month that it was giving a 2% pay rise to its employees in 2013, on top of a discretionary one-month bonus for 2012, falling short of the union's demand.

The 6 000-strong union at a special meeting on Monday told the carrier to resume negotiations or face the Christmas action and a possible full strike during the New Year holiday.

Cathay has insisted the union withdraw the threat to strike before re-opening talks, and asked its staff to be "considerate and understand the difficult situation" the airline is facing.

The carrier has been trying to trim costs after it fell into the red in the first half of this year with a $121m loss, partly due to high fuel prices.

  • johnny.better.12 - 2012-12-11 13:23

    So, not only in SA, hey !? LOL

      zapadela.tistarocha - 2012-12-11 14:10

      Heaps of striking in Euro currently......come on now, keep up.

      alfred.neumann.142 - 2012-12-11 14:31

      A little different though, if this had been in SA they would have burnt the airport down, thrown rocks at the aircraft and beaten up anyone who showed up for work while demanding 50k a month for sweeping the runway.

  • erich.goosen - 2012-12-11 13:24

    Very few people will worry if the cabin crew do not smile. Refusing to serve booze or food is something different.

      zapadela.tistarocha - 2012-12-11 14:11

      Food ??? Just booze....wonder why this is offered by any Airliner anyway.

  • retief.devilliers - 2012-12-11 14:01

    On SAA no one will notice a change if they do the "no smile" bit!

  • zapadela.tistarocha - 2012-12-11 14:09

    Thsi si the best Airline in the World.....I have used Air New Zealand, SAA, Quantas, Singapore Airlines and British Airways. These guys and (Lest we forget) gals are super professional. Can't say enough about the Cabin Crew's silk garments.

  • vernon.meakin - 2012-12-11 14:48

    Dont give a hoot about the booze, the food is crap, the service is worse ,so whats would be like flying SAA

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