The company involved, Skithe3V, owned by Mark Ridgers (a former bankrupt and second hand car salesman), pulled the same stunt after the busy Christmas and New Year period when they employed a large group of youngsters before dismissing them without any wages as soon as the busy period was over.
Last week saw the company running 10 chalets and, in an attempt to keep up with demand, they rapidly flew in a large number of youngsters from Britain aged between 18 and 25 to help clean rooms, run the chalets and care for guests, one of whom was Red Dwarf actor Danny John Jules. As soon as clients left to return home to Britain, an email was despatched to all seven chalet hosts informing them of the termination of their contracts with immediate effect and telling them that they were to vacate their accommodation straight away, return all company belongings and ski passes. They were also informed that they would not receive any wages for the three week period worked or travel expenses, leaving the youngsters stranded with no money to either pay for new accommodation or make their way home.
However, unhappy with the situation and after taking advice from the local gendarmerie and Saisonnaires Office, the youngsters decided to move themselves into one of the Skithe3V luxury chalets and barricade themselves in until the company pay them what they are due. The chalet was being run by elder couple David and Hayley Haines who were also sacked without reason but were offered reduced pay. They decided to take up the cause of their younger team members, allowing them to take up residence and informling Mr Ridgers of their intentions to remain at Chalet Georgina until all of them had been paid.
Chalet Georgina is located just outside Les Menuires and has 10 luxury bedrooms, all with en-suite facilities and views of the mountains. Guests are due to arrive at the chalet this weekend for a week long ski break.
Mark Ridgers – who has served a prison sentence for fraud – has threatened the squatters with violence, a visit from the local police and legal action but they are adamant that they will not vacate the property until they have received their wages in full and travel expenses, a figure of 500 euros in total. They are currently setting up a Facebook page called the 'Les Menuires 7' and are already receiving a lot of support from local firms in the ski resort who are owed money by Skithe3V and other saisonnaires.
Sparknotes: Chalet hosts in France employed for peak season, dismissed with no pay by dubious ex-con, barricading themselves in chalet until resolved, getting lots of support from industry.