Cathay crew threaten to stop smiling

Last updated 15:34 12/12/2012
Cathay

IN HAPPIER TIMES: Flight attendants and ground crew of Cathay Pacific Airways present their new uniforms in Hong Kong last June.

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Cathay Pacific flight crews are on standby to srike, threatening to stop smiling and serving drinks in support of their pay claim.

As Christmas holidays loom, Cathay flight attendant's union is saying it will "work to rule" in support of the five percent pay increase it has demanded from Hong Kong's flagship air carrier. 

The measures could also throw flight schedules into chaos during one of aviations busiest times of the year, threatening chaos for thousands of passengers.

Union boss Tsang Kwok-fung was reported as saying "We will be selective in providing our services," after Cathay's announcement last month that it was giving a two percent pay rise to its employees in 2013, on top of a discretionary one-month bonus for 2012.

The 6000-strong union at a special meeting on Monday told the carrier to resume negotiations or face the Christmas action and a possible full strike during the New Year holiday.

Cathay has insisted the union withdraw the threat to strike before re-opening talks, and asked its staff to be "considerate and understand the difficult situation" the airline is facing.

The carrier has been trying to trim costs after it fell into the red in the first half of this year with a $HK935 million ($A114 million) loss, partly due to high fuel prices.

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