The half-term ski holidays could be ruined for British tourists this year as the French unions for seasonal and lift workers have announced a strike at the end of the month which could last until March. The unions have voted to close ski lifts in some of the most popular ski resorts in the Alps.
The lift workers’ unions, which are fighting over pensions and better wages, will start an « unlimited » strike action on January 31.
Therefore, many resorts in the Alps could be hit with walkouts and closures during the half-term period, one of the busiest times of the year for them.
The head of the lift operators’ branch of the Force Ouvrière union, Eric Becker, explained: « We have decided to call for a strike during the February holidays because demands are listened to more during this period. »
However, it is reported that the “unlimited” action starting at the end of January will not mean that ski resort employees will walk out indefinitely, but some “lifts will operate normally from the next day ».
« We do not want to further weaken companies already in difficulty,” Becker added according to AFP.
Rolling stoppages are therefore expected rather than all ski lifts being closed at once on the first day of the strike.
The main workers union, the Confédération Générale du Travail, also announced an « especially strong action » during the Ski World Cup in Courchevel and Maribel, two very popular resorts in the Alps.
This strike action is set to take place between March 16 to March 20 but any Britons travelling to the Alps this half-term are advised to speak to their holiday operator or ski resort.
In case the resort is affected by strikes, tourists are recommended to check if their insurance covers missed ski days due to strike action
The director of the Société des Trois Vallées lift company, Pascal de Thiersant, commented: « After French strikes target ski lifts almost two years of Covid then the energy problem, the unions want to pile it on again. That’s really shooting themselves in the foot. »
The ski unions are asking for better wages and unemployment insurance, especially for seasonal workers.
The news comes after days of protests in France after President Emmanuel Macron announced the plan to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64.
Last week, over one million people took to the streets in Paris and marched to protest against the proposed pension reforms.
Some of the most popular ski resorts in France among Britons are Courchevel, Val d’Isere, Méribel and Val Thorens in the Alps.
To avoid disruption due to French strikes this year, British tourists can opt for other ski resorts such as Les Quatre Vallées, Zermatt, St Moritz in Switzerland.
Other highly rated ski resorts include Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy, St Anton am Arlberg or Kitzbühel in Austria.
Places such as Switzerland or France are more frequently associated with skiing than Spain but in fact, the Pyrenees, bordering France, is one of the best winter locations when it comes to snow sports.
Some of the most popular ski resorts in Spain are Baqueria-Beret, Sierra Nevada and Grandvalira.