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Cathay pilots say work-to-rule to go on indefinitely.

HONG KONG, July 3 Kyodo

(EDS: UPDATES WITH REMARKS BY UNION, CATHAY)

Pilots with Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways, who began a work-to-rule action Tuesday, threatened to continue their action indefinitely to press for better pay and working conditions.

The airline, however, insisted it will not have further talks with the pilots over the pay dispute unless they drop the work-to-rule campaign.

The carrier has so far reported no flight disruptions caused by the pilots' action, which follows last

Thursday's collapse of negotiations between the pilots' union and management.

From Tuesday, the pilots will adhere strictly to the airline's operating manual and will not put in extra time for preparations ahead of flight takeoff, said John Findlay, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association.

''Please note, first of all, that there is no call for strike action. This is not a manmade typhoon sweeping through Hong Kong. This is not holding Hong Kong to ransom,'' Findlay told reporters.

He said the work-to-rule action will cause flight delays because pilots have been reporting to work earlier than the time Cathay Pacific requires to complete all pre-flight tasks.

The union claimed the time schedules set by Cathay Pacific's manual are not sufficient for pilots to do all the necessary flight preparations.

The union expected the impact of the industrial action will show up in coming days.

Findlay said the action will continue indefinitely until Cathay Pacific management provides the union with information regarding pilots' working hours, without which the union says it cannot negotiate properly with the airline.

Cathay Pacific said Tuesday it will monitor the pilots' actions closely and that the company has contingency plans in case of disruption, including chartering more flights and rebooking passengers on other carriers.

''The cockpit is no place for trade union activity. We will be monitoring operations very closely to determine if individual crew cross the line from flight caution to union disruption,'' said Tony Tyler, Cathay Pacific's corporate development director.

Tyler said the company will consider returning to negotiations only when the union drops the industrial action.

But talks will then be started from scratch as the union failed to respond to the airlines' enhanced pay offer, which includes a pay rise, extra pay for overtime work and improved rostering practices, by the deadline on last Saturday midnight, he said.

In late May and early June of 1999, Cathay Pacific flights were disrupted for more than two weeks by a pay-cut dispute between the airline and the pilots. The two sides reached a deal then after lengthy intensive negotiations.
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Jul 9, 2001
Words:427
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