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French ski resort workers call ‘unlimited’ strike

Unions representing ski resort workers have called for unlimited strike action from the end of January, in part of the ongoing battle against pension reform plans.

French ski resort workers call 'unlimited' strike
A ski lift near the Pyrenees Catalanes natural park in southwestern France on January 10, 2023 . (Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

Two of the largest unions representing French ski lift operators and seasonal workers, FO (Force ouvrière) and the CGT, have filed “unlimited” strike notices starting on January 31st – the same day that unions across other sectors have called for another ‘mass strike’.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the strike will continue throughout February, but unions say they want to put pressure on the government to discuss both pensions and changes to benefits for seasonal workers, which particularly affect ski industry employees.

Force ouvrière union head, Eric Becker, said in a statement that lifts would operate normally on February 1st, and that the goal was not “to weaken companies that are already in difficulty”.

“We want to be heard and have our problems – those that impact seasonal workers – listened to”.  

At present, a strike has only been called for January 31st, but more dates could be added and the unions say they intend to take “strong action” during the Ski World Championships, held in Courchevel from February 6th to February 19th. Strikes in ski resorts usually primarily affect the operation of ski lifts. 

READ MORE: Grève illimitée or generale: 12 bits of French strike vocab you need to know

February represents peak season for ski resorts in France as French schools are on holiday and many schools also run ski trips to the Alps or Pyrenees. 

The CGT union representing ski resort workers had already called for mobilisation after a national meeting on January 12th, and the FO filed their strike notice on Monday.

Unions are calling on workers to strike in an effort to show opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. The unions’ demands also include calls for better wages and unemployment insurance that is better adapted to the experiences of seasonal workers.

Tuesday, January 31st, is the next ‘mass strike’ day, in which services such as trains, city public transport and schools are highly likely to be disrupted. 

READ MORE: Calendar: The French pension strike dates to remember

Member comments

  1. It is the ski world championships in Meribel Courchevel 6th to 19th February not Ski World Cup, held in Courchevel from March 16th-20th as published

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Traffic jams expected on roads in Paris region due to holiday getaway

France's roads watchdog Bison Futé puts the greater Paris region on alert for difficult driving conditions

Traffic jams expected on roads in Paris region due to holiday getaway

The second-week of French schools’ staggered Spring break begins this weekend, with schools in the Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon and Poitiers areas breaking up for two weeks, joining establishments in Créteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse and Versailles, where pupils have been on holiday for a week.

And holidays means getaways. Which means more vehicles on the roads.

France’s roads watchdog Bison Futé expects traffic to flow pretty smoothly across most of the country on the second weekend of the Spring holidays – though, for the second weekend in a row, it has warned of “difficult” driving conditions in the Ile-de-France on Friday evening and for much of the day on Saturday.

The A10 and A6 heading away from the capital are expected to see the worst traffic, especially around the tolls, from mid-afternoon into the evening on Friday, it warned. The A13 is also likely to be affected by delays.

The same will apply on Saturday, when Bison Futé also classifies the day as orange in the Île-de-France on routes heading away from the capital. Traffic jams could affect the A10, A6 and A13 freeways from early morning, and are expected to intensify before lunchtime. Bison Futé has recommended being clear of key roads in the Paris region before 8am if at all possible.

Sunday is classified as green throughout France.