Say No to Exploitation Defending Collective Agreement in Cathay’s Labour Dispute

Say No to Exploitation
Defending Collective Agreement in Cathay's Labour Dispute

The Flight Attendant Union (FAU) demonstrated what is meant by “Solidarity is Strength”.  To protest against benefits cuts, the FAU launched industrial actions from May 19th.  Through gradual escalation of actions, the company was prompted to negotiation with the union on May 29th.  The president of FAU, Ms. Dora Lai, shared her views on the strategies and effects of the actions.

Pressuring the Company and Gaining Sympathy from Customers

Some criticisms from the internet blamed the FAU were not prompt enough to take actions such as strike or work to rule.  However, Dora explained that each industry has its own uniqueness; if the FAU went on strike too early, they were unable to put pressure on the company because tickets were already sold out.  From previous experiences, bringing inconveniences to the public without enough notice may often backfire.  Even if flights were delayed before the strike took place, passengers would still tend to blame it on the union, which would be a blow to morale.  “As we announced to go on strike in August, Cathay will see the slump in sales immediately.  These are not effects the public may get to know first hand.  We just want to put pressure on the company, we know what we are doing!” Dora happily proclaimed.  Thus, the effect of this strategic change is significant.  Many front line colleagues felt that customers sympathized their actions, even colleagues from Dragonair had the same impression.

The Growth in Maturity is the Biggest Achievement
The Growth in Maturity is the Biggest Achievement

The membership of FAU increased by 800 over the course of actions.  But more importantly, it was the growth in maturity of the members turns out to be most satisfying for Dora.  “During our besieged of the Cathay City, we sat-in through out days and nights.  The colleagues created a lot of whatsapp groups and these groups spread out one by one.  Each group of colleagues took their part in the sit-in and the number of colleagues turned up for overnight sit-in was much than I imagined.  Meanwhile, more members were willing to accept media interviews.  Our members are more active and mature nowadays.”  From this experience, Dora fully realizes the strength in solidarity and she hopes that all members would feel that it is an honour to join the union.

Cathay's Exploitation

Labour Agreements

Slashed outport lunch allowance in Melbourne to AUD 35 (app, HKD 217) at destinated places.  


11% gap in hourly salary for employees contracted to the company after 2/4/2015


Canceled staff's legal protection on handling “Disruptive and Unruly Passengers”

Outport allowance in Melbourne restored to AUD 60 and affected staffs are allowed to reimburse the difference.  New agreements list out the scope, procedures, and calculation methods of outport allowances.


Staffs will be given a hourly pay rise of 22% when their contracts renew in 2015 and guaranteed hourly pay rise of no less than 16% in next three years' contract renewal staffs


The original text regarding legal protection was restored into the staff manual.  A commission will be set up with representatives from both sides to monitor the clauses with the establishment of appeal mechanism