Carol Ng talks to RTHK’s Janice Wong

An executive member of the Hong Kong Cabin Crew Federation said on Thursday that Cathay Pacific’s sacking of two pilots over links to the ongoing protests could set a dangerous precedent and warned the city could see a wave of sackings soon.

“Once a big corporate, a leading corporate, behaves as such, the medium and small-size companies will follow. And there will be a wave of dismissals or a large group of the employees dismissed simply because of their political stance,” said Carol Ng.

She said no matter what the staff’s employment contract says, they should still be allowed to enjoy their basic rights to free speech, and be able to take part in protests.

The union activist also said if such rights are undermined in Hong Kong, it could hurt the local economy badly as investors could think twice about doing business in the city.

“If I were [doing] the investment, I will reconsider whether I should start in Hong Kong because I am no longer owning the right to manage my employee, I can’t decide how to manage my staff because I have to seek the approval or make mainland Chinese government happy,” she said.

She said even firms that are now doing business in Hong Kong will rethink now about staying here, as they have to decide if they too have to keep the mainland authorities happy with their policies.

She told RTHK’s Janice Wong that no staff from Cathay have contacted her about the latest management move, but has heard of some smaller airlines also coming under pressure to toe the line.

Chris Beebe, general secretary of HK Aircrew Officers Association, declined a request to comment on the Cathay move.