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During the early days of COVID, thousands of Cathay Pacific employees, from flight attendants to pilots, got laid off. Now that the pandemic has settled down, the airline company is inviting them back to the team as part of its “anticipated recovery.”
On Tuesday, Cathay sent an email to ex-staff, inviting them to submit a “priority application” to rejoin the company. “If you are still passionate about delivering the world’s best inflight service we would be delighted to welcome you back,” Cathay said.
The only thing is, though, the company is only recruiting junior cabin crew positions right now, according to vice-chairwoman Grace Siu of Cathay’s Flight Attendants Union.
So regardless of whether ex-staff had previously been with the company for a decade, which is about the time needed for a promotion, they’d have to start from the beginning with much lower pay.
“I’m pleased that as we look to resume our flight operations, it is the right time for us to begin rebuilding our team,” said Jeanette Mao, Cathay Pacific’s general manager who oversees in-flight services, in an internal email sent to its ex-staff on Tuesday. “If you are still passionate about delivering the world’s best inflight service we would be delighted to welcome you back.” They reached out to ex-cabin crew who expressed interest in being notified about future opportunities to rejoin the company.
“I don’t think for those who are quite senior in the past days they will rejoin. But for those who are quite junior, like they joined maybe two or three years, maybe the new contract’s difference is not so big. Then they might consider it if they love flying, if they love the crew lifestyle,” said Grace Siu, vice-chairwoman of Cathay’s Flight Attendants Union.
“It is impossible [for me] to start at the lowest rank. We would only get promoted after working there for 10 years, that means you are asking me to return to a post I worked in 10 years ago. That’s impossible. Not to mention the salary would be lower,” said Miss Shum, who only agreed to last name identification. She said that returning to the company is out of her consideration, calling the offer “totally meaningless.”