A bizarre (and properly funny) situation has arisen in the three valleys where seven chalet staff have rebelled against their managers and barricaded themselves in a luxury chalet. They claim that Mark Ridgers, of Skithe3V, fired them unfairly and owes them wages for the weeks they have worked. They're refusing to come out until he's paid them what they reckon they're owed. Having locked themselves in three days ago, the seven hosts started a Facebook Page where they've been publicising their predicament. We spoke to them via Skype a couple of hours ago, to find out what the hell was going on!
According to David Haines (who features in the video above) five young staff, plus him and his wife, had been employed by Skithe3V to work the busy February half-term period. After working for several weeks, they were told via email they'd breached their contract. He described what he saw as the spurious excuses used to fire them:
On the Monday night an email was sent out to staff saying they'd broken company rules. It was a long email listing everything from not shaving to failure to wear uniform.
We heard rumours that he'd already done a similar thing in January, where he got a whole load of people in for Christmas and New Year and then sacked them all via email just after that busy period - again without pay. And interestingly someone's just posted on the Les Menuires 7 Facebook Page saying exactly that - they'd come all the way from Australia and worked this particular chalet and that had happened to them.
Having decided they weren't going to let themselves be treated the same way, David, his wife and the young chalet hosts decided to barricade themselves in the luxury Chalet Georgina until they were paid, or at the very least given their fare home. As he said, chuckling, "they promised us everything plus a little bit more besides and they've delivered on precisely none of it. Plus a little bit more besides!"
Apparently French law means that people claiming squatters rights cannot be evicted during the winter months ("the French are just great, I love them, they're such socialists" David told us) so the earliest bailiffs can be called is sometime in the middle of March. And as he says in the video, the occupation has the support of the local police. Meanwhile, the seven are stopping Mark and Skithe3V from taking bookings in the chalet, and more.
The whole crew seems to be pretty media savvy, and with their twitter feeds and faffbook page, are doing serious damage to a dude who David describes as "basically a crook". As well as fighting for their own rights, they're aiming not to let a company that appears to have messed people around in the past do it again. They're publicising their plight hard - so far they've featured in The Daily Fail, The Torygraph, and as we chatted to them BBC Radio Norfolk rang the chalet phone to chat to them. Apparently one of them is even doing a live spot on Radio Five Live tomorrow morning!
Get supporting the seven and their cause, like their Facebook page and get involved now!