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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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