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Cathay Pacific flight attendants threaten to withhold food, smiles

December 16, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • Cathay Pacific flight attendants staged a protest in Hong Kong on Dec. 3. They are threatening to perform only the most basic job duties if they don't receive 5% raises.
Cathay Pacific flight attendants staged a protest in Hong Kong on Dec. 3.… (Philippe Lopez / AFP Getty…)

Labor strife is common among airline workers, but flight attendants for Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific voted last week to try unusual tactics to push stalled salary negotiations.

The flight attendants, who demanded a 5% pay increase but instead were offered a 2% raise, were considering performing only their basic, safety-first responsibilities.

That means they could refrain from serving food and drinks, according to the union’s general secretary, Tsang Kwok-fung. Not only that, he said, they may also abstain from smiling at work.

“We will be selective in providing our services,” Tsang told the Sydney Morning Herald, adding that the dates and the types of job action have yet to be decided.

“This could include not smiling at passengers, not providing certain types of beverages -- such as alcohol -- or stop serving meals,” he said.

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Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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