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Cathay Pacific Crew Told to Tell on Each Other Before Planned Strike

Cathay Pacific management has issued a memo warning employees the airline will be “monitoring attendance levels closely” and any workers suspected of participating in a general strike called for the first Monday and Tuesday of September will be subject to investigation and possible termination. The Hong Kong-based carrier has previously asked employees to report each other for participating in any anti-government protests.

Cathay Pacific has served notice that a “zero-tolerance policy” for employees supporting anti-government protests is now in effect. In separate memos to the workforce, the airline’s management specifically warned workers not to participate in a general strike called for September 2nd and 3rd, after earlier encouraging employees to report co-workers who might be in breach of the code of conduct by supporting protests.

In a copy of the August 29th email (later posted on the Flyertalk forums), Cathay Pacific Director of People Tom Owen warns workers that the company will aggressively retaliate against employees who participate in the planned labor action. The airline has already been accused of succumbing to pressure from Chinese officials in reportedly firing at least 20 employees solely for supporting the protest movement.

“Cathay Pacific group does not approve of this strike and any such participation during working hours would be prohibited and would constitute a breach of your contract with the Cathay Pacific Group,” Owen writes in part. “In line with previous communications, I also wish to reiterate that Cathay Pacific Group has zero-tolerance for any support of or participation in any illegal protests. We expect all of our employees to report for work as normal over this period and will be monitoring attendance levels closely. Any breach of policy or regulatory requirements will be investigated and may lead to termination of employment.”

In an equally sinister-sounding memo from a day earlier, updating the airline’s code of conduct, Owen appeared to announce to Cathay Pacific employees that they are now expected to inform on each other. Although he first sought to ensure workers that the recent string of firings of workers suspected of participating in the protest movement was “the result of a careful and formal review process involving senior leadership,” the email then went on to address policy changes effectively making it against company policy to voice support for the protest movement. The updates to the code of conduct specifically urge employees to “speak up” if they believe a coworker is in violation of the new rules.

One employee who won’t be naming names is former Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg, who reportedly resigned rather than provide the identities of employees believed to have participated in the protests. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is said to have sought to ban those crew members from flying in Chinese airspace – which under the new Cathay Pacific code of conduct is considered grounds for termination.


[Image: Cathay Pacific]

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