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Cathay Bases Closure - Options?

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Cathay Bases Closure - Options?

Old 5th Nov 2020, 08:41
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Cathay Bases Closure - Options?

With the first part of attack by CX over, and most pilots signed over to CoS18 in HKG, the next attack would naturally be on the based passenger pilots.

What are the differences in Law in the USA, UK, AUS in regards to:
If I donít accept any new terms, and CX offers me to relocate to HKG, and I refuse, is this Redundancy?
What happens to LIFO since all remaining HKG pilots have no LIFO, but the bases do?

Are there any Lawyers out there that can give free advice please?


Angel 8 is offline  
Old 5th Nov 2020, 13:22
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You will have to look at your particular contract (likely part of a collective agreement) as well as national and state/provincial law. It will depend completely on that. There is no one who can give broadband advice in that these widely differ and are specific to the region.

There may be set remedies according to the contract, or there may be recourse if the situation is part of a broader scheme to end run the contract by taking it offshore. But if it goes to factors beyond the contract (which should be relatively simple) it's way complex and it wholly depends on the law in the location you're in.
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 17:50
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Angel 8

Like slasher said, it all depends on the jurisdiction. I am no lawyer but here is my take on it.

There are some general things most base jurisdictions have in common.

If a base jurisdiction has a collective agreement it stays in effect until its expiry date. CX can not impose a COS18 style contract on those bases. However, nothing is preventing management to negotiate temporary concessions with the respective base unions. And exactly this already happened and all base areas agreed to temporary pay-cuts for those pilots who are not flying.

CX has the right to manage. As such it is within their right to close all or some bases or reduce positions on bases. As far as I know all base CBA/CA/EA have provisions for this.

The easiest scenario is for CX to close a base and offer all pilots a position in Hong Kong. For those pilots who return to Hong Kong its fairly straight forward. As soon as they start their employment in Hong Kong, none of the provisions of their base agreement/jurisdiction apply anymore. Hong Kong law applies and CX can do as they please with those officers as long as it is legal according to HKG law. So that means COS18 like everyone else in HKG, regardless what their base agreement said.

Contrary to common belief, even though CX would offer a based pilot a HKG position, this pilot does not have to take CX up on this offer. This does not mean the pilot terminated his/hers employment, because the pilot's position was made redundant in that particular base jurisdiction. It does not matter if a pilot would be offered a position in another country. The respective base law applies, which covers only employment in its particular jurisdiction.

Another possibility could be that CX is not offering any HKG positions for those officers due to COVID, visa regulations or whatever, regardless what it says in the base agreement.

And then it starts to be getting very complicated, as not only the respective contract provisions (eg redundancy clause) come into play, but depending on the jurisdiction, also federal, state/provincial laws. These laws would cover things like the process how a base has to be closed, time lines, if mediation/arbitration is required, and if and how much of a severance package is required. To make things even more complicated it also depends on if the entire base would be closed or only some positions on that base would be reduced. EG, all 777 positions on a base will be made redundant, however all 747 pilots will remain on the base. Different bases have different rules for this scenario.

In regards of LIFO, my understanding is that if the entire base closes (the legal base entity is gone) LIFO is gone as all officers either would go to HKG or would get a redundancy package in accordance with their base agreement/jurisdiction.
However, if CX reduces positions on a base these have to be done according to the provisions in the base agreement. In case CX would ever add positions again on this particular base, those pilots will have to be called back and offered a position in order of seniority, before CX can offer any of those positions to someone else.

In closing, will CX close some or all bases? Who knows? It is possible. For those who say bases are now more expensive then HKG based officers on COS18, I would say it all depends on the base and the temporary pay-cut agreed upon. Also one thing to consider is that most HKG pilots opted for the 2 year transition period and continue to receive their legacy benefits. Within this time period most if not all base agreements are up for re-negotiation.

Base closure is not without cost. An alternate approach could be that CX will continue to negotiate temporary concessions with the base unions as they have done in the past. And when the time comes re-negotiate the respective base agreement reflecting the new reality.

I guess we have to wait and see.
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 18:45
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COS18 is a local contract.
Thatís what Cathay wanted for quite some time and thatís the future from now on (best case).
The HK government is on the side of Cathay Pacific, they want their money back and they want to protect as many local jobs as possible.

Perhaps anyone could explain why, in the next round of lay offs, would they fire a local in HK on COS18 to finance an expat base slot on COS99/08 ???

COS18 is a local contract. Perhaps the long term outlook is to turn Cathay into a local airline without any bases too ?
Frank W. Abagnale is offline  
Old 5th Nov 2020, 19:26
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Originally Posted by Frank W. Abagnale View Post
Perhaps anyone could explain why, in the next round of lay offs, would they fire a local in HK on COS18 to finance an expat base slot on COS99/08 ???
Maybe just maybe because the "local" employed in Hong Kong on Cos18 is still more expensive than the "expat" on the base slot? After all Cathay is still a business.... And for your information as much as I hate to burst your bubble I know of and have personally flown with quite a number of "expat" based pilots whom are actually either Hong Kong citizens or permanent residents who have served their time In Hong Kong and continually paid income tax to Hong Kong either when they were HK based or even still when based overseas!

To answer the OPs question. In reality FOP management can now do whatever they like to the bases as long as it's on par or slightly better than Cos18 T&c or pay. Why? Because if the bases don't accept Cathay just close the base and return the pilots to Hong Kong on Cos18! Well played, well played Cathay! The house always wins!
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 19:45
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Slasher1 and GTC58

Thank you both for valuable replies. They are a great help in preparing for what is inevitable.

So if there’s a difference between Federal or State Law, the latter would apply?
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 20:09
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All who signed COS 18 now work for CPA.
Why were the new contracts not under VETA?
I believe the answer you are looking for wrt the question of bases lies here.
Is not VETA the entity that administers the bases?
What happens if VETA is wound up?
Rice power is offline  
Old 5th Nov 2020, 20:16
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Not since the bases were on shored I believe! But agreed an interesting question!! The Australian and USA agreements/contracts have specific provisions for the eventuality that VETA is wound up; says that you work for CPA with your original seniority! If you don't believe it then go into crew direct and look at the documents for yourself
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 20:39
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Angel 8

It’s more complicated then this. It depends on the particular issue. I assume you are talking about the US, it could be federal law, state law of where a pilot is based or state law where a pilot resides. Even some issues could go to the EEOC. It’s impossible to foresee what could happen as there are too many scenarios possible. If it would come to what you are suggesting lawyers would be involved in the process.
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 21:19
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Angel 8

Perhaps both--Federal supersedes state law in general but a state could have specific laws (or more restrictive laws) which could apply. Now a CBA erases many potential traps (but can't erase some of the legal protections and usually acknowledges this within the document itself), but not all and some items are subject to a third party interpretation. GTC had a well worded response in the general case; there have been some specific things that have happened which might muddy the waters even more (at least as far as the company might be concerned--not going to go into them) but it is a real can o' worms. A better strategy would be work out some sort of arrangement in the mean time (which most US carriers have done--along with force reduction packages--within the contexts of their particular CBAs for the very reasons delineated in the thread).
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 21:27
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Slasher, those are all pertinent comments. I believe however that the exigency of the current situation gives the company wide latitude of action. I suspect the movement of all HK based pilots to a non-Veta basis is evident of a specific intent and strategy. Although I sympathize with the based pilots, I suspect that the company already well knows what it is planning and when. Ultimately I would plan on coming back to HK, and then re-evaluating ones lifestyle issues from that perspective. Sadly, I cannot see bases continuing as they are. The cost advantage is effectively now gone, and the labour law concerns going forward will only become more difficult to engage once the Covid excuse of radical action is gone. Time will tell.
mngmt mole is offline  
Old 5th Nov 2020, 21:45
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Whatever happens the company will fully involve the crew in the process as many engagement surveys showed there are issues with the way crew have been managed. The company is keen to rebuild the relationship.

The crew are valued and respected members of the great CX team and CX is a caring company.

The company will also fully comply with the local laws as it is a responsible international company.
controlledrest is offline  
Old 5th Nov 2020, 21:59
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Best laugh of the morning CR...!
mngmt mole is offline  
Old 5th Nov 2020, 22:08
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Originally Posted by controlledrest View Post

The company will also fully comply with the local laws as it is a responsible international company.
Sarcasm or truth???? Wonder why CX is making HKG based employees file a US tax return?
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 22:18
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Originally Posted by mngmt mole View Post
Ultimately I would plan on coming back to HK, and then re-evaluating ones lifestyle issues from that perspective.
You are a glass half full kinda chap! Ultimately I would plan on being unemployed, a return to HKG and a job would be a good outcome given the current circumstances.
LLLQNH is offline  
Old 5th Nov 2020, 22:26
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CX management have taken maximum advantage of the black swan event of the century. Sadly, it will take CX aircrew a decade or more to undo most of the damage. Arguably, they never will (I doubt expat housing/school/medical benefits will ever return). We probably pre-ordained this outcome back in 2001 when we refused to down tools over the firing of the 49ers. It's basically been a slow suicide since then. CX has morphed into just another Asian LCC, with pay and conditions accordingly. Either accept that or move on i'm afraid....
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 22:30
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Originally Posted by LLLQNH View Post
You are a glass half full kinda chap! Ultimately I would plan on being unemployed, a return to HKG and a job would be a good outcome given the current circumstances.
Ultimately, we all are unemployed. The key is in making the time in between count for whatever a person is chasing in life. Sometimes ya gotta do stuff you don't like to do, but if you're always doing something you don't like to do under conditions you don't like the only one to blame for the circumstances is oneself.
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Old 5th Nov 2020, 22:31
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....can't argue with that assessment....
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 00:18
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I see 4 possible outcomes for the Bases:

1) No change, leave as is.
2)Bases remain, but on COS18 type contracts
3)Bases closed, return to HKG on COS18
4)Bases closed, all made redundant


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Old 6th Nov 2020, 00:53
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Razor-sharp analysis
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