French ski workers call ‘unlimited’ strike just before half-term break

End of month protest coincides with nationwide strike action

Strike threat over pay and pension
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Unions for ski-lift workers have called for unlimited strike action later this month which will come just before the half-term school break for many in the country.

See also: The dates of France's 2023 holidays and days off

Strike notices have been filed by the two ski lift unions, which also represent seasonal workers, starting on January 31.

Force Ouvrière will join the CGT (confédération générale du travail, the union representing salaried workers) after nearly 100% of members voted for action in the ski lift sector over proposed pension reforms put forward recently by the government.

"We decided to call a strike during the February holidays because the claims will be better heard during this period," says Eric Becker, general secretary of the ski lifts in Force Ouvrière.

The last day of January is also scheduled to be the second nationwide strike day against the proposed reforms to the pension system, which in particular want to raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64.

Read also: France pension reform: strike and protest dates, calendar for bill

However, it is unlikely that ski resort employees will be on strike every day. The call for an ‘unlimited’ strike is to allow for the seasonal workers to join in with the nationwide demonstrations regarding pension reforms which are set to take place on January 31.

Mr Becker states that ski lifts will resume normal service on February 1 and that currently, strikes for workers in ski resorts will align with dates chosen by the joint unions at national level. Another day of nationwide action is expected in February.

The demands of the two unions go beyond what is requested by the inter-union at the national level. In addition to the withdrawal of the pension reform, they are asking for unemployment insurance for seasonal workers and higher wages.

The CGT is also considering industrial action during the Ski World Cup in Courchevel from March 16 to 20.

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