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CX Dispute World Media

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CX Dispute World Media

Old 22nd Aug 2001, 13:28
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Chris
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Cathay Pacific pilots vote to escalate action

By Mark Odell and FT.com staff in London
Published: August 22 2001 07:11GMT


Cathay Pacific's pilot union on Wednesday voted in favour of escalating industrial action against the airline in its already bitter dispute with management over new contracts.

The pilots maintain that their campaign has remained low-level so far, intended to cause minimal disruption. The management accused them of bringing chaos to operations when the action began in early July, although this coincided with a heavy tropical storm.

Figures released by the airline on Monday showed that traffic in July fell 20 per cent, compared with the same month last year. Airlines around the world are suffering as the global economy turns down but none have suffered this kind of reversal in traffic, suggesting the pilots' action is already having a significant impact.

Mr Demery said on Monday that the threat further action was aimed at convincing management to return to the negotiating table. The airline walked away from talks at the end of June and has since imposed its own pay and conditions on the pilots.

Mr Demery warned that if dispute was not resolved in the next three months, the union was planning to punctuate the busy Christmas and Chinese New Year periods with wildcat strike action to maximise disruption.

He said the imposition of new terms and conditions and the sacking of colleagues had only heightened the ill-will felt by pilots towards management.

"This is a long-term problem and has been going on for years. Cathay needs to change its corporate culture," he said.

The union maintains that pay is not the only issue in the dispute, although it is demanding that pilots on the lower of the two pay-scales, introduced in 1993, are put on to the higher scale when they become captains.

It also wants a more structured rostering system arguing that the one imposed by the management does not solve inefficiencies or the uncertainty it introduces into pilots' lives.

In early afternoon trading in Hong Kong, shares were down 1.6 per cent at HK$9.450.
 
Old 22nd Aug 2001, 13:31
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Cathay Pacific cancels flights for fourth day
Financial Post - Canada; Aug 20, 2001

HONG KONG - Cathay Pacific Airways was forced to cancel flights for a fourth straight day yesterday as many pilots continued to report sick in a dispute over pay and scheduling. An airline statement said six flights were cancelled yesterday. Saturday, Cathay had cancelled 10 flights. Cathay pilots have been staging a go-slow since July 3 to demand better pay and improved scheduling



Airlines: Cathay Pacific cancels six flights after 'sickout' by pilots
Financial Post - Canada; Aug 21, 2001


VANCOUVER - A Vancouver to New York flight was among six cancelled yesterday by Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. as a result of what it called a "sickout" by pilots who are staging go-slow job actions. Flights to and from Hong Kong to Manila and Singapore were also cancelled. Pilots have been working to rule since July 3 in a dispute overtime and benefits.

 
Old 22nd Aug 2001, 13:36
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Cathay Pacific Airways pilots march to a meeting in Hong Kong August 22, 2001. Cathay Pacific Airways' pilots are likely to vote overwhelmingly on Wednesday for tougher job action as their dispute with management drags on, a pilots' union spokesman said. In the last week, the airline has been forced to cancel a number of flights because a growing number of pilots were calling in sick. REUTERS/Kin Cheung
 
Old 22nd Aug 2001, 13:37
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Nigel has put his nuts in the wringer and we should all support him in that.

I call for the Turner's and the Fry's to step forward...all the criticism aside.

Just because you feel isolated...don't think for a moment folk will not vote for a sensible solution.

Over to you...or bring in some folk who can represent the majority view without the bile.

V2
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Old 22nd Aug 2001, 13:40
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August 22, 2001 Posted: 1:59 PM HKT (0559 GMT)
Strike now possible at Cathay Pacific

By CNN's Kirsty Alfredson

HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- More than a thousand Cathay Pacific Airways pilots have voted to increase industrial action, which could include a one day strike.

Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Associationgeneral secretary John Findlay told CNN that 94 percent of 1,191 pilots voted to maintain the campaign of limited industrial action in the two-month old dispute.

More than 90 percent also voted to increase incrementally the limited industrial action and that it allowed one-day strike action "as and when appropriate".

The uniformed pilots arrived at the Hong Kong extraordinary general meeting as management accused them of orchestrating a "sick out" campaign to disrupt flights in a bid to win better rostering and working conditions.

The Hong Kong-based airline says the pilots are using golf discussions as a code to disguise conversations over a work to rule industrial campaign which it says involves calling in sick, an allegation the union denies.

More flights cancelled
Cathay cancelled four flights on Tuesday "due to the higher than normal level of reported sickness amongst its pilots".

The company's website said flights to and from Manila and Singapore were cancelled and an aircraft was chartered from a Canadian carrier to operate its Vancouver and New York service.

On Monday Cathay announced it cancelled six flights again due to the "higher than normal level of reported sickness" among pilots.

The affected flights were again those to and from Manila and Singapore and the Vancouver - New York -Vancouver flight.

Dispute costing $12.8m a week
The protracted dispute was estimated in July by Deutsche Bank analyst Kevin O'Connor to be costing Cathay at least $12.8 million a week.

The estimate was calculated before the latest escalated campaign and did not take into account any strike action.

However Credit Suisse First Boston analyst, Peter Hilton, said he did not believe the figure was significant as it was a one-off loss that would not occur again next year.

He added the loss had been offset by an abnormal profit resulting from the sale of $450 million of Equant shares. Hilton said the same pattern had occurred during the 1999 pilots dispute.

He said if there was "lingering trench warfare" between the pilots and management, it could affect passengers' long term booking patterns, but that would be offset by loyalty to the One World alliance.
 
Old 22nd Aug 2001, 17:34
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Well, you've certainly been doing your homework, haven't you Chris!

All the best to you guys at Cathay. Don't give up!
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Old 22nd Aug 2001, 17:51
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Cathay Pacific Airways' pilots leave a general meeting in Hong Kong Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2001, during which they voted to gradually step up the pressure on management with more "limited industrial action" as they seek a new deal on pay and working conditions. (AP Photo/Anat Givon)



General secretary of the cockpit crew union John Findlay, wipes sweat off his forehead after a meeting of Cathay Pacific Airways pilots in Hong Kong Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2001, during which the pilots voted to gradually step up the pressure on management with more "limited industrial action" as they seek a new deal on pay and working conditions. Findlay declined to specify what the pilots plan next, after almost two months of a go-slow campaign, but said the vote shows the union is holding firm and he urged Cathay to return to the negotiating table. (AP Photo/Anat Givon)



General secretary of the cockpit crew union, John Findlay, gestures while talking to reporters after a meeting of Cathay Pacific Airways pilots in Hong Kong Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2001, during which the pilots voted to gradually step up the pressure on management with more "limited industrial action" as they seek a new deal on pay and working conditions. Findlay declined to specify what the pilots plan next, after almost two months of a go-slow campaign, but said the vote shows the union is holding firm and he urged Cathay to return to the negotiating table. (AP Photo/Anat Givon


Hong Kong Pilots Escalate Protests
By MARGARET WONG, Associated Press Writer

HONG KONG (AP) - Cathay Pacific Airways pilots voted Wednesday to escalate their protest over pay and working conditions that already has cost the carrier millions and disrupted tens of thousands of passengers.

The general secretary of the cockpit crew union, John Findlay, declined to specify what the pilots plan next - after almost two months of a go-slow campaign - but he said the vote shows the union is holding firm and he urged Cathay to return to the negotiating table.

Cathay spokeswoman Lisa Wong replied that if the union wants Cathay to enter new talks, the pilots "must stop the industrial action.''

Wong said Cathay has contingency plans in place, including the possible use of jets and crews chartered from other airlines to keep Cathay passengers in the air if necessary. Cathay operated dozens of flights that way when the pilots started working to rule on July 3.

"The vote to escalate the action will be a further step in the wrong direction to create unnecessary anxiety for the passengers,'' Wong said.

In an extraordinary general meeting, pilots voted overwhelmingly to incrementally increase their "limited industrial action as and when appropriate,'' Findlay told reporters outside. Findlay declined to elaborate.

The Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association said 1,191 of the 1,300 unionized pilots voted, with 94 percent expressing confidence in the industrial action and 92 percent approving an escalation of the fight.

"This dispute will not be over until such time as we get down to the negotiating table again,'' Findlay said.

"Let's get an agreed settlement and let's get industrial relation back to where it used to be in Cathay Pacific,'' he said.

The dispute has cost Cathay at least 350 million Hong Kong dollars ($45 million) and forced numerous delays and cancellations of Cathay flights.

Cathay said it had gotten its flight schedule mostly under control by early this month but it then claimed the pilots have staged a sickout for the past week, forcing it to cancel about 40 services.

The airline canceled a pair of flights between Hong Kong and Singapore Wednesday, but said the level of reported sickness has fallen to below the average for the year, according to a company statement.

Findlay disputes charges that the union has urged pilots to call in sick.

Cathay fired 51 pilots after the union started working to rule, slowing the company's flights as pilots meticulously checked every safety detail before they would take off.

Findlay said Wednesday that 10 pilots have filed an unfair dismissal lawsuit in Britain, following an earlier suit filed in Hong Kong by 18 pilots.
 
Old 22nd Aug 2001, 17:56
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Thanks for the compliment, FL390. The hard work was done by callsign "Jester", on the (private) CX pilots forum. I'm only good for cut & paste, really. Nice pictures - those camera lights get really hot, which is why JF is wiping his brow - the press liked that.

Very relaxed press conference for the AOA, and a good meeting for the pilots.
 
Old 22nd Aug 2001, 18:19
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Cathay pilots vote to escalate industrial action
By Rahul Jacob in Hong Kong

Published: August 22 2001 10:31GMT | Last Updated: August 22 2001 10:41GMT


Cathay Pacific's pilot union on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to escalate its industrial action against the airline and signalled that the dispute with Cathay's management could drag on indefinitely.

The union has been engaged in work-to-rule action since July 3, which has resulted in the delay and cancellation of some flights. Pilots voted 914 to 82 to up the ante "incrementally". (91.7% to 1 dp)

"The message we send to Cathay's management is very clear. Despite their claims to the contrary, this dispute is not over," said John Findlay, general secretary of the Hong Kong Air Crew Officers Association.

Cathay pilots have been angered by the management's insistence at the interim results earlier this month that the airline was no longer feeling an impact from the continued work-to-rule campaign.

In July, Cathay fired 52 of its flight crew in a move that showed that management was determined to retaliate against the industrial action. Hong Kong labour laws favour management, which makes it unlikely the union will resort to an all-out strike.

In a replay of their big showdown with Cathay management in 1999, over the past few days pilots have resorted to the tactic of calling in sick. On Friday, as many as 163 pilots did so - well in excess of the 50 to 70 on a typical day.

The company said at its interims that the combined effect from lost revenues, as customers switch bookings to Cathay's rivals as well as the cost of leasing mainland Chinese aircraft and pilots, amounted to HK$350m (US$45m) in July.

Uzo Obi, an analyst with brokerage CLSA, estimates that the likely cost for the remainder of the year was likely to be considerably higher as the dispute drags on and that it could eventually cost the airline as much as HK$1 bn. (US$128.2m)

After the flight cancellations of the past few days, Ms Obi cut her forecast for the full year to HK$1.43bn (US$190m), excluding exceptionals.

Last year, the airline posted a record profit of HK$5bn (US$650m). Cathay reported earlier this week that July traffic was down 20 per cent year on year.

Widespread coverage of the stand-off between management and its pilots union, for the second time in as many years, is expected to strengthen the resolve of the Hong Kong government to selectively liberalise its air services regime and allow more airlines to compete against Cathay.

Ms Obi says that the most likely beneficiary is Dragonair, a mainland Chinese-owned airline that primarily flies from Hong Kong to China. She predicts that Dragonair will be allowed to fly to Taipei by the end of this year or early next year.

Analysts are also predicting the establishment of direct air links between Taiwan and China in the fourth quarter of 2002.

Ms Obi estimates the Hong Kong-Taipei route accounts for as much as 23 per cent of Cathay's current profit.
 
Old 25th Aug 2001, 03:53
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South China Morning Post

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Outdated labour laws giving employers the upper hand

Your editorial of August 23, headlined "Fight with no winners", wisely suggests that a special government inquiry might give the Hong Kong public a better idea of what lies at the heart of the latest Cathay Pacific Airways dispute, and why staff relations are so poor.

But it seems to me that a broader inquiry and urgent legislative review might also be convened over Hong Kong's outdated and patently ineffectual labour laws.

The existing legislation, as the pilots have reminded us, is heavily weighted in favour of employers.

As the 50-odd sacked Cathay pilots discovered, the laws allow for instant dismissal without warning, explanation or any form of negligence or ineptitude by the employee.

All that is required is a pay-off equivalent to three months' salary.

Employers are not even required to demonstrate that redundancies are necessary for corporate survival in lean economic times - as is obviously not the case at Cathay, since the carrier is reportedly attempting to hire many more pilots than it fired.

Such Draconian legislation, which would be laughed out of parliament or congress in any so-called developed country, might provide the flexibility for Hong Kong companies to make higher profits. But what is in it for the vast majority of the Hong Kong population? How can any employee relax, or even plan for the future, knowing that although he is doing a good job and his company is prospering, he could still be indiscriminately sacked tomorrow? What are employment contracts worth if they can be broken so easily?

Job security and fair labour laws are at the root of any civilised society. Without them, buying property or starting a family becomes a risky commitment - not to mention giving up a job (and life) in another country for a post in Hong Kong which might suddenly cease to exist.

If nothing else, the Cathay pilots have underlined to us all that there is something drastically wrong with basic employee rights in one of the world's most affluent economies.

Hong Kong is supposed to be an advanced cosmopolitan society geared to the 21st century, not a throwback to the dark, satanic mills of Victorian England.

TIM METCALFE
Sai Kung
 
Old 25th Aug 2001, 10:40
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When these CX malcontents first applied to the company, they asked for work, and now although the management has offered a reasonably fair contract improvement, the pilots still are not satisfied. Well, my gosh they say, we should be treated like Delta pilots, higher pay and much better benefits.
They forgot of course that they are not in ATL working for Delta, they are in HKG as contract pilots subject to the HKG laws and regulations. The management I suspect will dismiss some more until these guys get the message.
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Old 25th Aug 2001, 12:18
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411A, as I have said before, FOXTROT OSCAR. You must be a real F*cking idiot if you believe the new contract to be an improvement.

Our managers are getting caught in their lies. I love it. The public are starting to see this and the lies will catch up with our moronic management before too long.
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Old 25th Aug 2001, 12:46
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411A Just crawl back into the hole you came from - and never come out again - you are a disgrace to the aviation profession.
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Old 25th Aug 2001, 13:03
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A few thoughts of mine copied from the Fragrant Harbour thread of the same name. Wish I could look forward to your response 411A. Unfortunately I already know it will be uninformed drivel, just like all your other 8,000 or so posts!

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The HKG GOVT must be very pleased with the mismangers at CX. Every move they have made so far has been arrogantly colonial in nature. Not really what is required from a leading business in a place that wishes to be known as a "World City". Every time they act they destroy their credibility and add to the groundswell of opinion that says enough of this. The calls for open skies and amendments to the labour legislation will only increase as this dispute goes on. Well done CX mangers, you have not only turned what was the most loyal and compliant pilot workforce in this industry against you but also the HKG GOVT and the population too. Is it not now time to return to the negotiating table before you lose everything? Face should no longer be important to you, the future of this business is!
How could you expect to frequently reduce conditions and remuneration arbitrarily over the last 8 years and not expect a backlash at some point in the future when you tried it yet again? You must negotiate in good faith NOW! A deal that is acceptable to BOTH sides is possible. Strive your hardest to achieve that deal. Stop fighting your pilots, you can not win! Or would you consider the worst OTP in Asia for ever more as a win?


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[ 25 August 2001: Message edited by: Dismayed ]

[ 25 August 2001: Message edited by: Dismayed ]
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Old 25th Aug 2001, 22:37
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HKG laws say the company has the last say with regard to strike action, so thats out (unless the CX pilots want to go to jail) and as contract pilots they have very little rights with regard to dismissal, just like every other contract pilot worldwide. The CX malcontents must think they are "permanent staff". The 49+ know better.
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Old 26th Aug 2001, 07:42
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To comment on 411A's last post. Tha pilots at CX are not contract pilots. The only ones that ever were, were the second officers in the old days. They were on a 3 year contract. Everybody else is permanently employed based on continued good performance and protected by a series of Discliplinary and Grievance procedures. We are like any other airline where we work to a contract of negotiated terms. In the past the company treated all the pilots very well, then cut backs started and the pilots were still expected to give that little bit extra for nothing. The management were so used to us helping them out that they gre to expect it. They continued to make cut backs. We now work to our contract and this is viewed as being limited industrial action. In most good airlines, you are expected to work to your contract. Well, we are and now we are being penalized for it. The management are still making salary and benefit cut backs. All we want is a negotiated contract that we can be expected to work to. We want some security. We want a lifestyle that is liveable. Thank you for all your support, for those of you that have been giving it.
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Old 26th Aug 2001, 14:11
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I have to make a comment about the frequently made accusation made of the 'colonial attitude of cx management'.

The instigation of the hard line attitude from cx management is from the chinese element. They feel that the expat pilots are acting like spoilt brats.

It is not the chinese way to make a lot of fuss - they let the expats in management do that for them.
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Old 26th Aug 2001, 17:02
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Flap5---
Your spoilt brat comment is absolutely correct. For those in CX who believe that the Chinese are not pulling the strings from behind the scenes are dreaming.
The pilots in CX must believe that they should have seats on the Board of Directors, management calls the shots and the pilots will just have to dance to the tune. Or, go elsewhere.
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Old 26th Aug 2001, 17:26
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Okay 411A, exactly how does the "Chinese Government" pulling the strings, ADVANTAGE Cathay management? The dispute at Cathay has now - without a doubt - drawn the attention of the majority of Chinese pilots. These pilots must now be asking themselves why THEY are getting paid such miserable salaries when;

(a)their employee airline charges comparable airfares to pax, as most other airlines worldwide, whilst paying the same purchase/lease price, and similar fuel prices;

(b)overseas airlines operating from a higher cost base (in terms of peripheral support) are able to turn a healthy profit, AND pay their pilots substanially MORE;

(c)Cathay Pacific (the company) is pleading poverty, is able to UNNECESSARILY charter other Chinese airlines to cover "contingencies", and to accomodate and reward them at levels FAR in excess of their norm.

If nothing else, this CX dispute is helping Chinese pilots realize their relativity in the world's aviation market!

Thank you, Cathay!
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Old 26th Aug 2001, 17:35
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It's probably cheaper for CX to wet lease from the mainland Chinese carriers than to fly their own aircraft.
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