Tour operators and ski resorts reassure British skiers that the upcoming planned strike between chairlift operators will likely be “non-eventful”, saying the first strike last week caused as few disruptions as skiers did. even noticed that it was open.
Next month’s strikes were called by the two main French unions, the Force Ouvrière (FO) and CGT, representing chairlift operators and seasonal workers, to protest controversial pension reforms and changing unemployment insurance schemes for seasonal workers. With British and French schools closed in February, unions hope to cause maximum disruption.
But ski resorts and tour operators that have been hit hard by the Covid pandemic over the past few years and subsequently the scant snow earlier this season are claiming that if it does, industrial action will cause little or no disruption.
While it has been widely reported that “unlimited” strike notifications have been made for February and the Ski World Cup in Méribel and Courchevel (6-19 February), only one more day of action has been planned for the next one so far. It’s Tuesday, January 31st, and several elevator operators are expected to attend.
Olivier Desaulty, manager of Les 3 Vallées, the country’s largest ski area, said the strike, which took place on January 19 last week, did not cause any disruption as cable car operators took part in three lifts in Courchevel and four in Les Menuires.
“The strike was followed very little and had no impact on holidaymakers,” he said. “We respect this right to strike while maintaining quality social dialogue every day, which keeps us optimistic for the February holidays and the World Championship.”
It’s the same at Les Arcs, where VIP founder Andy Sturt had a meeting with the head of the École de Ski Français this morning, where he told the Daily Telegraph: “Nobody seems to have an appetite for action, just a few people didn’t get to work last week. come”.
French mountain expert Xavier Schouller of Peak Retreats went further, describing the reported strikes as “totally non-event”.
“Actually, nothing will happen and 95 percent of French resorts will not have the slightest disruption,” says Schouller. “This is the French national ‘préavis system’ that has happened many times before.”
FO secretary general Eric Becker described the strike as “the only way for their voices to be heard by the government”, explaining: “This reform punished seasonal workers whose unemployment benefits were sometimes cut in half. [to the point that] We can no longer hire.”
Softening previous statements about its intent to cause maximum disruption, Becker added: “Elevators will operate normally from the next day (February 1), we don’t want to further weaken companies that are already in distress.”
Pierre Scholl, national representative of CGT for chairlifts, added: “You can’t imagine [pisteurs] Carrying the 64-year-old wounded. Today, seniors are no longer recruited on construction sites and women have trouble finding work in the off-season, often finding themselves with nothing – that’s true for many families.”
Last week’s strike also went unnoticed in Val d’Isere, where 23-year-old Molly Peters worked one season for VIP Ski.
“I’ve never heard of a strike, let alone hear it affected someone,” he said.
Inghams and Crystal Ski Holidays, two of the UK’s largest ski tour operators, told The Telegraph they are monitoring the situation and liaising with guests staying in the affected areas.
Melvin Westlake, president of Inghams Winter Product, said: “At this stage we are waiting for more information on the details of the proposed strikes and how this may affect our French ski resorts. From what we understand, it may just be for one day.” and that it may not affect all French resorts or all cable cars. We will do our best to let our guests know if there will be a disruption on this day and frankly this only affects our guests staying at our French resorts. “
A spokesperson for Crystal Ski Holidays said: “We are aware of potential chairlift operator strike action during the month of February. We’re working with our partners at our resorts to understand the impact so we can help mitigate the disruption where possible. During this time, we will keep them updated by communicating directly with customers traveling to France.”
When do strikes at ski resorts in France begin?
The strikes will begin next Tuesday (January 31). Despite widespread reports of “unlimited” strike notifications for February, including the half term holidays, the only day of action planned so far is January 31 and several elevator operators are expected to attend.
“In short, there won’t be any disruptions for skiers, except for one lift on January 31,” says Schouller.
Which resorts will be affected?
It is not yet known which facilities or cable cars will be involved in the strike – talks are ongoing and operators will be contacting passengers who may be affected.
Will my ski vacation be cancelled?
Operators and resorts want to reassure vacationers that the reported strike action will not affect their ski holidays.
“At Peak Retreats, we have reassured all our major partners that the skiers will not experience any disruptions,” says Schouller.
However, in the unlikely event that events develop and more business dropouts occur, visitors are unable to ski or their vacations are not sold or completed according to standard terms and conditions, your carrier will likely relocate you elsewhere if your trip is part of a package. a facility where you can ski or get a refund. If you’ve booked independently, you should consult individual providers and airlines and contact your travel insurance, but a few policies will likely cover the strike action.