A dispute between Cathay Pacific management and pilots has threatened to drag on, although both sides hope to reach an agreement soon.
According to a notice issued by the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers’ Association (HKAOA) to its members, negotiations with management over pilots’ pay and benefits started four months ago, but no consensus has been reached yet, hk01.com reports.
The HKAOA, which represents the airline’s pilots and flight engineers, expressed fears that the company may take a unilateral action and go ahead with its plan to change the employees’ benefits without their consent.
The association is planning to invite the pilots to a vote next month to decide whether a further industrial action would be launched, according to a media report.
In response to the report, the HKAOA issued a statement on Thursday night to say that it does not have any plan to go on strike.
The motion to launch further industrial action responds specifically to the possible unilateral means that the airline might adopt, the association said.
It said it hopes to discuss with the company its proposals and reach a consensus.
An industrial action is the last thing it wants to see, the HKAOA added.
The airline sacked about 600 employees in the first half of this year as part of its ongoing restructuring efforts.
HKAOA general secretary Chris Beebe told Reuters the pilots were willing to make some concessions, given the company’s weak financial state, but they wanted assurances those would be recoverable once its finances improved.
For its part, Cathay Pacific said in a statement it had been working hard to come to an agreement with the pilots and promised to continue efforts to reach an agreeable outcome, adding that it was relying on the professionalism of its pilots to ensure smooth operations.
The Civil Aviation Department said it has and will keep an eye on the progress of the negotiations, stressing the airline has been told multiple times to handle the disputes carefully to ensure its flights and passengers will not be affected.
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