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Cathay Pacific eager to return to negotiation

20 Jun 2001

Cathay Pacific Airways today reaffirmed its commitment to continuing negotiations and said it was not surprised by this morning's vote of its pilots' union, the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers' Association. The two parties are scheduled to resume talks on remuneration and roster practices tomorrow morning under the auspices of the Hong Kong Government's Labour Department.

Following today's union meeting, Cathay Pacific's Director Corporate Development Tony Tyler said: "Today's vote comes as no surprise. It represents the union's latest tactic to pressure the airline into increasing pilot pay. It is worth noting the union's vote to seek pay increases of as much as 32% comes at a time when the Government has recommended pay rises of between 2.5% and 5% for Hong Kong civil servants."

"What is important is to get back to the negotiating table. Cathay Pacific looks forward to talks resuming on Thursday. We remain committed to reaching a negotiated settlement and are willing to talk around the clock if necessary. We recognise that pilots have concerns and are addressing these through continued negotiations."

Cathay Pacific and its pilots' union are involved in discussions about pay and benefits. The union is currently seeking increases in pay and benefits for pilots of up to 32%. Cathay Pacific has offered pay rises of up to 9%, which it feels is generous given Hong Kong's current situation and the weak global economic outlook. The union is demanding these pay rises despite the two sides agreeing to a three-year deal in June 1999, one that is not due to expire until mid 2002. Cathay Pacific has shown it is willing to be generous but neither the airline nor Hong Kong can afford to grant pilots' pay rises of 32%.

Mr Tyler said: "We are committed to reaching a settlement with the union but it is important for the future welfare of the airline, all our staff and Hong Kong that we reach a reasonable agreement appropriate to Hong Kong's economic environment."

Cathay Pacific continues to operate as normal and all flights remain open for booking.