The Cathay Pacific flight attendant union says its members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of supporting any action, which could include a lengthy strike from Christmas all the way through the Chinese New Year, unless the Hong Kong-based airline improves post-pandemic working conditions.
At an extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday, the flight attendants union said 100 per cent of its members who took part in the vote backed the union’s stance. A spokesperson noted that while no final decision had been made, nothing had been ruled out either.
In a recent letter to Cathay Pacific chief executive Augustus Tang, the union warned that cabin crew at the carrier were “at the end of their rope” over long working conditions and reduced rest periods.
The union went as far as to describe working conditions as “inhumane” as the airline looks to rebuild its schedule and network with the easing of some of the toughest pandemic restrictions in the world.
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.
A major cause of concern amongst cabin crew is reduced rest periods during long-haul flight sequences, as well as reduced days off after other busy and challenging flights.
Cabin crew are also unhappy about the airline’s decision to reduce the number of flight attendants working a flight, increasing their workload with little extra pay.
Cathay Pacific admits it has faced some rostering issues but says these were only temporary as the airline built up its schedule. The airline claims many of these rostering concerns have already been addressed for flights in January.
The airline also says it is actively recruiting thousands of new cabin crew as the recovery continues.
“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.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.