Cathay Pacific Airways regrets that the midnight deadline has now passed and the pilots` union - the AOA - has rejected the airline`s enhanced pay proposal. Shortly before midnight on 30th June Cathay Pacific`s Director Corporate Development Tony Tyler briefed the media at the Conrad Hotel, Hong Kong. He said the following:
* Regrettably, it is close to midnight and it appears that the HKAOA leadership has rejected our proposal and made no substantive response. We are, needless to say, very disappointed.
* I want to clearly outline the proposal the AOA leadership rejected:
i) Pay rises of up to 10.5%
ii) Provident fund increases of 15.5% of the additional pay
iii) Additional overtime pay with premiums of up to two and half times their basic hourly pay and
iv) Significant improvements in roster practices.
* Tonight, the AOA has rejected far more than a generous pay, benefits, and roster practices proposal. They have also rejected wide appeals from the whole Hong Kong community and from their colleagues at the airline.
* Let`s be clear about something else as well. The AOA leadership rejected the proposal. It was never presented to the AOA membership.
* The AOA leadership never changed their inflexible position. In today`s newspapers, AOA President Nigel Demery was quoted as saying that the AOA was prepared to disrupt the airline and Hong Kong “for three months, six months, nine months or a year”. Sadly, the AOA leadership seems absolutely determined to pursue a misguided course of disruption, no matter what. Hong Kong deserves better.
* The AOA has raised the typhoon signal. As the union has kept their disruption plan secret, we cannot predict the severity or timing. But as we have said before, Cathay Pacific knows how to prepare for and manage through natural typhoons and we will for manmade typhoons as well.
* As in the past, we will do all we can to keep our passengers and cargo moving. We are prepared to charter additional aircraft and rebook passengers on other airlines. For the moment we will continue to operate normally and take bookings on future flights
* The AOA leadership will now place enormous pressure on pilots. Our pilots are professionals - among the best in the business. They know the cockpit is no place for trade union activity.
* Let me assure you we sincerely wished to reach a negotiated settlement with our pilots` union. Over the past 18 months we have made every effort to be as accommodating as possible. At the end of the day however we cannot give the union everything it wants. We have to remain competitive for the good of our staff, customers, and Hong Kong.
* Thank you for your patience over the past few days. The late hours and uncertainty have clearly put a burden on all of us. We would now be happy to answer any questions.