Last updated: 10:14 AM ET, Wed May 20 2015

Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Organize Protests at Hong Kong Airport

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | May 20, 2015

Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Organize Protests at Hong Kong Airport

Hundreds of Cathay Pacific flight attendants gathered at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday to protest the latest contracts offered by the Hong Kong-based carrier.

According to union member Ada So via the Associated Press, as many as 400 cabin staff members made their way to the airline's check-in desks at Terminal 1.

The cabin crew members plan to sit-in at the airport until Thursday morning, according to the South China Morning Post. However, protests could continue beyond Thursday if union members remain dissatisfied. 

Union members warned that their efforts could impact travelers' future plans.

"We will not rule out pressing ahead with a work-to-rule action or a strike. We are targeting August," said union chairwoman Dora Lai Yuk-sim via the Post. "If members of the public are planning trips around that time, we advise them to adjust their itineraries."

For now, the airport stated that it was "taking measures to minimize the effects of the union's actions on airport operations," per the AP.

The union members are requesting a uniform pay raise at the conclusion of the employee's initial three-year contract, a reversal of a recent lunch allowance cut for workers in Melbourne as well as the reinstatement of a legal clause protecting flight attendants from costs resulting from a potential injury suffered on the job.

The airline's general manager of cabin crew Maggie Yeung told reporters via the Post that the hourly pay raise to HK$159.30 (US$20.55) rather than HK$176.80 (US$22.81) still represented a 10 percent rise, calling it a "desirable arrangement."

Yeung also said Cathay Pacific adjusted the Melbourne lunch allowance from A$35 (US$27.62) to A$55 (US$43.40). 

Finally, she said that the airline changed the legal protection clause in an effort to improve it and that the legal support offered to affected employees still applies. 

Located on the island of Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong International Airport is Cathay Pacific's hub. The city's flag carrier offers service to dozens of destinations from the airport. 

UPDATE 10:13 a.m. ET 5/20/2015: Risk management firm Genvisec is reporting that protests have ceased, citing unnamed sources on the ground in Hong Kong. We will provide updates as they become available.

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