SCMP Wednesday, July 11, 2001
Reinstate pilots, union demands
Cathay Pacific pilots yesterday said they would not make peace with management until their sacked colleagues had been reinstated.
The Aircrew Officers' Association also revealed four of their seven-member negotiating team were among the 52 sacked pilots.
Meanwhile, Cathay claimed to have returned to a schedule customers could trust with the help of chartered planes.
Cathay Pacific Director of Corporate Development Tony Tyler said the airline hoped to move forward after the sackings and a $200 million pay and benefits package the airline implemented on Monday.
Asked if he was disappointed the moves had failed to end the dispute, he said the ball was now in the union's court.
However, union general secretary John Findlay said Cathay's ''terror tactics'' would not be effective.
''This union is solid. The members are resolved to eventually get back to the negotiation table,'' he said. ''One of the things that we will be looking for is the reinstatement of all the pilots who have been unfairly dismissed.''
Asked whether reinstatement would be essential for any settlement, he said: ''That is a pre-condition.''
Pilots would also be encouraged to seek reinstatement under internal review procedures, he said.
The union met sacked pilots and their partners yesterday to discuss their options. ''They are in shock, surprised, disappointed and it's not a good time for them,'' Mr Findlay said.
The sacked pilots also included six members of the union's 22-member general committee, he said. Some of the general committee members dismissed were also on the negotiating team. ''This is a clear case of attacking the union, attacking its membership,'' he said.
However, Cathay's Mr Tyler denied union membership was not a consideration in the sackings. He would not be drawn on whether the company would consider reinstating the pilots or whether they would negotiate with the sacked members of the union's negotiating team.
''We will consider returning to negotiations with the union if they drop their action,'' he said.
Cathay elaborated on the package of pay and conditions introduced by the company earlier this week. Mr Tyler said that under the deal:
- Pilots recruited before 1993 get a pay rise equivalent to about four per cent, more than offsetting pay cuts this year under a previous agreement;
- Pilots recruited after 1993 get about six per cent a total of nine per cent when added to a three per cent rise already scheduled for this year;
- Pilots get a minimum of about $1,200 an hour overtime pay;
- Medical, housing and education allowances are improved.
Pilots' sick days had roughly doubled since industrial action started a week ago, Mr Tyler said. He refused to say how many pilots had called in sick. Asked about union claims that pilots on standby were not being called in and that Cathay planes were grounded, he said the airline wanted to provide reliable flights.
Cathay announced 11 of 38 flights suspended due to industrial action would resume today. The airline yesterday cancelled 29 flights out of 143. Fifteen flights were delayed by more than 15 minutes, compared with 49 the previous day. Six flights were delayed by more than an hour. The Airport Express in-town check-in service will resume today.