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Cathay Flight Attendants threaten not to smile or serve alcohol and food

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Unlike in the United States where airline workers strike and ground airplanes, flight attendants at Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific Airways are threatening to take the "friendly" out of the skies.

Cabin staff at the airline, which has a reputation for top-notch service, voted at a union meeting this week in favor of industrial action that involves no longer smiling or serving food and alcohol to passengers until the airline increases pay by 5%.

The airline, which is struggling to cut costs after posting a first-half loss of 935 million Hong Kong dollars ($120.5 million), has offered 2 percent and a 13th month bonus.

The Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union will soon announce when the action approved in the vote will begin, General Secretary Tsang Kwok-fung said.

“We may not provide alcoholic drinks to our passengers, or we may not even provide meals to passengers,” in which case the union would advise travelers to bring their own food and drinks, said Tsang.

The work action could also include withholding smiles and greetings from passengers. “We cannot smile because of the situation, because of how the company treats us,” Tsang said.

The airline says that they have contingency plans in place should the workers strike or begin any type of work action.

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