MIAMI – Cathay Pacific’s (CX) flight attendant and Pilot unions announced they will join forces in their fight for better pay and benefits. They are seeking to increase their bargaining power after the airline refused to back down on new lower-paid contracts.

According to a report in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), unionized cabin crew at CX failed to secure any concessions from the airline after a 3½-hour meeting at Hong Kong’s Labour Department office on Wednesday.

In a bid to bolster the unionized workforce, the CX pilots and cabin crew unions, both under pressure from the airline’s restructuring, signed an agreement later on Wednesday to work closely and pool resources.

Tad Hazelton, chairman of the 2,200-member Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association (HKAOA), said, “It’s a historical moment now that the two groups are going forward together. Not just under these circumstances, but any issues we face us in the future.”

Image from South China Morning Press

Developing A Plan to Move Forward

Chris Beebe, general secretary of the HKAOA, said full details of the union’s joint efforts are not yet fully worked out. However, a comprehensive plan will be put together.

“We hope to put together a plan of working together cooperatively. Cathay Pacific must recognize that working together is going to benefit all of us all of us,” he continued.

But Beebe added that the unions are still considering all legal options in relation to the new contracts.

According to the SCMP article, Cathay’s Flight Attendants Union chairwoman Zuki Wong said the priority will be supporting members who aren’t going to sign the new contracts. Additionally, the unions are planning no industrial action. She wouldn’t say whether their efforts so far have been a failure, saying Cathay officials had at least agreed to a tripartite meeting.

“We have united all our members, and joining hands with the HKAOA is a historical moment,” Wong said, surrounded by flight attendants who had turned out to support the union.

Wong added that all the union’s executive committee members would sign the contract to maintain operations and would continue to demand the airline review the terms of the contracts annually.

Featured image: Luca Flores