February ski holidays for hundreds of thousands of Brits could be ruined after French unions voted to close lifts for school holidays.
The two major unions for seasonal and elevator workers announced “indefinite” strikes from January 31 as a row over pension reform rages on.
Strikes at half-time would hit alpine resorts at their busiest times and could shut down dozens of ski stations, The Times reported.
Eric Becker, head of the lift operators’ union Force Ouvrière, said: “We have decided to call a strike during the February holidays because there is more attention to demands at that time.”
Courchevel ski area (file photo). The two major unions for seasonal and elevator workers announced “indefinite” strikes from January 31
A lift traveling above Courchevel (file photo). French unions voted to close lifts during February school holidays
Demonstrators gather in Paris on January 19 to demonstrate against pension reforms
The UK half-term is split over two weeks, from February 11th to 25th. In France, it extends over four weeks, from February 4th to March 4th.
The Confédération Générale du Travail, the other major union, submitted an intention to strike indefinitely.
During the Ski World Cup in Courchevel and Méribel, which takes place from March 16th to 20th, she called for “particularly strong action”.
Brits with bookings at French ski resorts are unlikely to be able to claim a refund during the planned strike action as travel companies will technically be offering the holiday as sold.
Ski days lost due to a strike are rarely covered by insurance.
The start of the expanded action coincides with the next day of mass protests and halts against President Emmanuel Macron’s project to raise the retirement age.
Rolling disruptions are expected across all resorts, mainly in the Alps and Pyrenees, rather than all lifts closing at once.
Pascal de Thiersant, director of the Société des 3 Vallées cable car company, said: “After nearly two years of French strikes targeting ski lifts, the unions wanted to raise the energy issue again. That really shoots you in the foot.”
Hundreds of thousands of Britons visit France in the February half-year.
Sources told The Times that the strikes could spell a “disaster” for Britain’s ski sector, which is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is exactly what we shouldn’t have done after so many years of disruption,” a source told the newspaper. “Sales are going very well… but if everyone starts to strike? That’s another story.”
Macron’s government is pushing ahead with the pension reform that will reach parliament at the end of March, despite widespread public opposition.
More than a million people demonstrated in France on January 19 as part of the national workers’ protest against Macron’s proposed pension reform and raising the official retirement age from 62 to 64. This disrupted public transport, schools and much of the country’s public services .
Some of the strikers clashed with the police, with the worst trouble in Paris taking place around Bastille Square.
Protesters threw bottles, trash cans and smoke grenades at police, who responded with tear gas and dispersed the rioters.
President Macron said he welcomed “democratic protest” but added that any uproar would be met with “the full force of the law”.
The far-left CGT union said there were more than two million people at protests across France, and 400,000 in Paris alone.
More than 65 percent of the population reject the change in the pension system.
Retirement at 64 is the same lowest age in Europe.
The unions and the main opposition parties on the far left and far right say this amounts to “brutal” and “cruel” treatment.
Large ski areas in Europe suffered from a lack of snow over Christmas. Rising energy costs have also impacted resorts this season.
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/half-term-ski-holidays-for-brits-could-be-ruined/ Half-term ski holidays for Brits could be ruined