Cathay Pacific is offering payouts of about HKD $1 million or re-employment opportunities for pilots sacked during the 2001 industrial dispute, if they agree to drop legal action against the airline.
If the offer is accepted, those sacked pilots. aslo referred to as the "49-ers" can either take a 10-month payout or an interview for a job as freighter pilots, positions junior to those they previously held.
However all re-hired pilots be subjected to psychological testing, to make sure that they do not hold a lasting grudge against the airline.
The 1,000-member Aircrew Officers Association, which has supported the dimissed pilots financially and funded their lawsuits, is due to decide at an extraordinary general meeting on February 15 whether to approve Cathay's offer.
One of the pilots, Canada-based Steve Urquhart, 36, said he wanted to accept the offer and return to Hong Kong. "We could be bitter for the rest of our lives but I would rather put it behind me and go back to work," he said. "Hopefully in five years it will all be ancient history."
Cathay's director of flight operations Nick Rhodes said Cathay's offer was a "full and final" one and if it was rejected the matter would be sorted out in the courts.
"There comes a time in any dispute when you have to move forward," he said. "We are very pleased the association is now run by a business-minded committee."
[Edited 2005-01-25 09:14:47]