Money

Flight Attendants Threaten to Not Smile or Serve Alcohol over Contract Dispute

| by Michael Allen

Flight attendants at the airline Cathay Pacific Airways, based in Hong Kong, are threatening to withhold food, alcohol and smiles during the Christmas holidays over a pay dispute.

The union is demanding a 5 percent pay increase, but Cathay Pacific Airways is trying to cut costs after posting a first-half loss of $120.5 million. The airline has counter-offered a 2 percent pay hike and a 13th month bonus, reports the Associated Press.

The Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union's General Secretary Tsang Kwok-fung told the Associated Press: "We may not provide alcoholic drinks to our passengers, or we may not even provide meals to passengers. We cannot smile because of the situation, because of how the company treats us."

The union is also considering working "to rule," which is performing only the minimum work required and precisely following safety regulations to the point where flights would be delayed by 20 to 30 minutes.

The union is also considering a strike as a last resort, but not until 2013.

Cathay Pacific Airways Chief Operating Officer Ivan Chu said at a press conference that the airline has "comprehensive contingency plans" for the holidays, but wouldn't give details.