26th October 2020 – (Hong Kong) Cathay Pacific suspended operations of its subsidiary Cathay Dragon and laid off 5,300 local employees on a large scale. The retained employees were required to sign a new contract. Zuki Wong Sze-man, chairwoman of the Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union said on a radio program this morning (26th) that the union will hold an emergency meeting today to listen to opinions and decide on the next move. The union will also consult legal opinions. She said that the terms of the new contract are quite unfavourable.
The basic salary of flight attendants has been reduced by 30% to 40%, and the salary reduction of some employees has reached 40% to 50%, which is too drastic. If the new contract is signed within 7 days, there will be additional allowances, and the first period will expire later (28th), but she believes that the economy will recover in two or three years and believes that salary reductions should not be permanent. And even if employees do not sign a new contract, they should not be dismissed. She criticised the arrangement for being unreasonable and the terms run counter to the general direction of the government’s policy.
She continued that the company requires employees to decide whether to sign a new contract before the 4th of next month. If they do not sign, they will be deemed to be dismissed and will no longer enjoy life-long benefits. They may also be blacklisted. It is currently difficult to assess how many people will accept the new contract. It is believed that the trade union and the management will have a certain degree of difficulty in negotiating the contract, and they will consult legal opinions again. In addition, Wong said that some clauses in the new contract are aimed at the union, stating that any agreement signed between the union and the employer will no longer automatically take effect, and it will no longer protect non-members.