Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cathay Pacific's cabin crew union urges members to reject unpaid leave

Cathay PacificLast week Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways offered its flight attendants unpaid leave of between two weeks and 12 months, beginning January 1, 2009, "as a result of the reduction in planned passenger capacity growth." The Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union (CPAFAU), which represents the majority of the airline's 7,000 cabin crew, is urging members not to accept unpaid leave. The union claims that the company has not negotiated "reasonable terms" with CPFAU regarding unpaid leave at this time.

In a circular titled "10 reasons why you should not take unpaid leave," CPAFAU warned its members that flight attendants' bonuses, retirement funds and other entitlements would be adversely affected if they took unpaid leave. "If there really is a surplus of crew or the company is going to reduce flight frequencies, we will all get more time off on full pay if we don't take unpaid leave," the circular said.

Earlier this week, Cathay Pacific Airways announced that it is cutting back its earlier projection of 6% to 7% growth in capacity in 2009 to less than 1% to reflect the anticipated decline in demand.