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New EU law changes chalet host lifestyle forever

 Poster: A snowHead
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Layne, quoting Mountain Heaven wrote:
...
•They will receive free accommodation and food, which cannot be deducted from pay (which has actually always been the law in France) ...
•The tradition of ski companies providing free lift passes, equipment hire and insurance may disappear as they do not have to be legally paid to staff

Since some chalet staff currently "live out", presumably TOs could also avoid the need to provide food and accommodation by employing local staff? From a customer perspective I am not bothered whether the meals etc are provided by x from Birmingham on a gap year, or y from Bourg who lives in France all year round. Makes a difference to the 'seasonnaire' model, but not necessarily to the 'catered chalet' model.
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rjs wrote:
ansta1 wrote:
Who is also to say that the unscrupulous TO's who currently by lift passes in bulk but don't pass those savings on to the holidaymaker (God forbid anyone would do that eh) won't do the same to the employee!

I thought that the system was that the employee took a copy of their employment contract to the lift pass office to get the discounted lift pass.


depends on the resort/company
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anstal & ris. I don't know where you get the idea that TO's 'buy in bulk' the LP's? It simply does not happen. Yet more hearsay and conjecture from people who have no idea.
They do get a commision on each LP sold to guests but importantly DO NOT sell at more than anyone going to the LP office would pay.
Seasonaires generally do not have to take their individual contracts to the LP office. The Resort manager would supply a list and everyone their PP so the LP operator can issue passes. They are paid for by the TO usually from HO and depending on numbers may get 1 or 2 special concessionary LP's for certain staff.
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So on reflection I am currently calling this a damp squid. Some small modifications seem to be required but I am not hearing any reason why "French enforcement to change the chalet host lifestyle forever". Unless someone knows different...

I am told the Swiss market collapsed after they initiated similar arrangements. But if it's along the same lines I can't understand why. Can anyone enlighten me? Was it done differently, is the Swiss market different?
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@Old Man Of Lech, I will certainly concede to someone with more insight to me. However indulge me a thought then, what if the TO decides instead of purchasing and issuing a season pass to each employee decides, that as they know there will a turnover of staff due to dropouts, injuries etc, decide to issue passes on either weekly or monthly basis going forward? This will be done at cost to the employee and therefore will further eat into their play fund at the end of every week/month. I am not saying this will or is likely to happen, but I am sure the bean counters would be looking at it. It's not beyond the wit of an excel spreadsheet or straightforward actuarial analysis to work out what is best for the TO based on previous seasons.
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ansta1:-
It makes far more sense to buy a season LP for each employee as the cost is substantially less than buying weekly or monthly ones. EG at some resorts a season pass is in the region of 7-900 euro, whereas a weekly pass can be 250-300 euro. No brainer there then. Plus most LP companies will allow at least 1 change per pass sometimes more if people do leave or get injured. Most TO now do in fact pay a bit more than in the past but then make a deduction for 'services'.
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@Old Man Of Lech, yes, but currently that cost is absorbed into the overall remuneration package. If going forward that cost is passed on to the employee (before or after tax would make a difference to the TO bottom line) would they care if the bottom line and cash flow predictions worked out?

They pay less up front for employee as they are paying monthly.

they can be potentially more flexible based on staff numbers related to bookings and staff turnover etc.

Certainly wouldn't work for the smaller or medium operators I would guess, but for the larger ones I could see how they could play it to their advantage.

Just musing, that's all.
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ansta1:-
Forgive me but I don't see it ever being in any TO interest to buy LP's on a weekly or even monthly basis. The costs would simply make it completely uneconomic. They mostly operate on a strict ratio of staff to guests and nowadays they even let staff have time off, (holidays), during the season if guest numbers are low. Didn't used to happen but it means they don't have to pay holiday pay at the end of a contract if taken.
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How did this get to 4 pages?

I know it’s off season and all ... but it is discussing a rather niche aspect of holidays...
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under a new name wrote:
but it is discussing a rather niche aspect of holidays...


Is it not about Future employment in the EU?
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Mike Pow wrote:


Just did a quick job search on google for Head Chef positions in my area - Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, Wales

This came up

Head Chef
Emlyn Hotel - Newcastle Emlyn
£25,000 - £30,000 a year


I used to manage that hotel and the staff were very careful to ensure they weren't exploited.

The place had fallen on hard times and the bank appointed a receiver to trade the business until a new owner could be found. I was the naive young accountant who every couple of weeks made the long journey through the Carmarthenshire lanes to have my leg lifted while I discussed the dismal trading conditions with the on-site manager.

I have never encountered a business with such extraordinary levels of stock leakage. Either the staff were in a permanent state of absolute inebriation, or they were supplying half of Carmarthenshire with black market beer and spirits.

I suppose it's one way of compensating yourself for a low wage job in a depressed (but very, very beautiful) part of the country. Laughing
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under a new name wrote:
How did this get to 4 pages?

I know it’s off season and all ... but it is discussing a rather niche aspect of holidays...

You're not helping here Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Jonny Jones wrote:
Mike Pow wrote:


Just did a quick job search on google for Head Chef positions in my area - Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, Wales

This came up

Head Chef
Emlyn Hotel - Newcastle Emlyn
£25,000 - £30,000 a year


I used to manage that hotel and the staff were very careful to ensure they weren't exploited.

The place had fallen on hard times and the bank appointed a receiver to trade the business until a new owner could be found. I was the naive young accountant who every couple of weeks made the long journey through the Carmarthenshire lanes to have my leg lifted while I discussed the dismal trading conditions with the on-site manager.

I have never encountered a business with such extraordinary levels of stock leakage. Either the staff were in a permanent state of absolute inebriation, or they were supplying half of Carmarthenshire with black market beer and spirits.

I suppose it's one way of compensating yourself for a low wage job in a depressed (but very, very beautiful) part of the country. Laughing


Laughing PML
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It always seems strange to me when Brits complain about low-paid EU migrants 'taking our jobs', then go on a catered chalet holiday that they can only afford because low-paid young Brits are over there taking local's jobs.
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@LaForet, Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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LaForet wrote:
It always seems strange to me when Brits complain about low-paid EU migrants 'taking our jobs', then go on a catered chalet holiday that they can only afford because low-paid young Brits are over there taking local's jobs.

Whatever makes you think it's the same Brits in each group?

In my experience, the people who most enjoy a plentiful supply of cheap foreign barristas to keep them in skinny soy lattes are equally likely to prefer cut-price Brits to properly paid savoyards.
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@stanton, no... it’s about the future of chalet-holiday-staff. Which is a tiny, weeny, tiny element of the global tourism industry.

Probably not even big enough to be a niche.

And more or less limited to the UK and NL as clients.

What’s smaller than the smaller thing that’s smaller than the thing that’s tinier than a niche?
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under a new name:- Still worth a good slice of the Euro ski market
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@Old Man Of Lech, do you think? UK and NL Chalet holidays vs everyone else in any other accom?

I’d be (happily prepared to be) surprised...
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presumably this directive will also affect how ski schools work as well, unless they can circumnavigate it somehow, as they tend to offer 6day group lessons and instructors tend to work 6 days a week, it would not be practical to change the instructor for one day mid-way through the week to allow for them to have the second day off.


I would assume it would also to apply to all other holiday providers, I have been away several times to holiday villages in France during the summer when the on-site team (all nationalities) work six days a week, they will have to recruit more staff as well.

I presume this applies to all industries, must admit I have not read the initial link.
what about theatres, where performances are on 6 days a week, do they swap performers throughout the week or is there a dispensation for this?
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@terrygasson, as the French laws stand, presumably only under certain circumstances, but employees can waive specific rights. That said, changing instructor mid-week is not unusual.
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@terrygasson, I don't think that ESF instructors are employees, I think they are members of a cooperative.
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Most instructors aren't posted workers, they are employed locally or self employed. The hours will also fall below those that chalet workers do.

From my experience, I have earned more money working on a local contract in a resort than for a chalet company working fewer hours with more ski time, even once accommodation and lift passes have been taken in to account. There are, at least in the resorts I have experience with, plenty of jobs that include accommodation and food and pay more than the chalet companies, the difference in which would easily pay for a lift pass and new equipment over the course of the season.
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I have a feeling that even under French Laws these "x number of hours" or "y number of days per week" are over an average over a certain number of weeks so if they exceed them then their contract is extended after the season to bring the average into within the legal limits.
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@rjs, i think you are at least partially right. ESF is a syndicate (union/franchise).
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Quote:

From my experience, I have earned more money working on a local contract in a resort than for a chalet company working fewer hours with more ski time, even once accommodation and lift passes have been taken in to account. There are, at least in the resorts I have experience with, plenty of jobs that include accommodation and food and pay more than the chalet companies, the difference in which would easily pay for a lift pass and new equipment over the course of the season.

Yes, but you need a bit of initiative to get those jobs, @Sitter. wink
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midgetbiker wrote:
marcellus wrote:
The main points of the new (current) rules;

- Seasonal workers must be paid at least the minimum wage for the sector (currently €9.88 an hour)
- Travel to the job, accommodation and food (including on days off) must be provided on top on the wage
- Additional benefits (eg lift pass, equipment hire, insurance, discounts on drinks) may be deducted from the minimum wage but only if clearly stated in the contract of employment.
- Any deductions made must be actual costs with supporting evidence and listed on the payslip
- Staff accommodation must meet strict minimum requirements
- UK chalet firms posting seasonal staff must carry out their substantial activities (have their registered offices, pay their taxes etc) in the UK and not France and have documentary proof
Documentation, including employment contracts, payslips, timesheets, health and safety risk assessments - translated into French - must be available on site if required by inspectors


All seems eminently reasonable, except:

- Travel to the job, accommodation and food (including on days off) must be provided on top on the wage

Why should an employer provide travel to and from a fixed place of work, nor accommodation (foc) unless there are no local alternatives, and obliged to provide free food on a day off is just (imo) ridiculous. Nothing to stop an employer providing any of those things foc, but to oblige them to, surely this means that seasonal worker will enjoy greater benefits then many other types of employees who have to provide those things from their own post tax incomes.


Not read the last page of the thread yet, but think this is an English comprehension thing... It's not that employers are obliged to provide accommodation etc., but that if they do so, it has to be in addition to the minimum wage and not deducted from it
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The thing is, it's not just the ski industry - obviously that's the primary interest here, but there are other industries with similar practices that are maybe not so appealing. Legislation has to be universal.

By way of comparison, in Gibraltar qualified and experienced sailing instructors - who have spent years and lots of money training, so similar to ski instructors - are paid at most £400 per 5-day course. That 5-day course involves being responsible for people's lives and on-call 24/7 for 116 hours *continuously*. That works out at £3.44 per hour - also far below minimum wage. Until 3-4 years ago, the "going rate" was £350 per course, until my Chief Instructor there decided unilaterally to raise the rate (and got all the best instructors of course). However, he did it because it was the right thing to do and absorbed the cost himself. In Greece, the dinghy instructors are on a very similar deal to chalet staff.

British clients simply won't pay for a course that costs enough to actually pay the instructor as much as minimum wage. And they lose out because they only ever get kids teaching them because anyone older simply can't subsist on that sort of money unless they are already drawing a pension or have some other form of independent income. Some kids stick it out for enough years to make their way up the ladder in the industry but most do a year or at most 2 then they're off to a "proper" job. Yet everyone agrees the life experience provided by older instructors is invaluable and of huge benefit, yet most Brits just won't pay for it, even though they themselves wouldn't even get out of bed for double the money.
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eng_ch wrote:
The thing is, it's not just the ski industry - obviously that's the primary interest here, but there are other industries with similar practices that are maybe not so appealing. Legislation has to be universal.

By way of comparison, in Gibraltar qualified and experienced sailing instructors - who have spent years and lots of money training, so similar to ski instructors - are paid at most £400 per 5-day course. That 5-day course involves being responsible for people's lives and on-call 24/7 for 116 hours *continuously*. That works out at £3.44 per hour - also far below minimum wage. Until 3-4 years ago, the "going rate" was £350 per course, until my Chief Instructor there decided unilaterally to raise the rate (and got all the best instructors of course). However, he did it because it was the right thing to do and absorbed the cost himself. In Greece, the dinghy instructors are on a very similar deal to chalet staff.

British clients simply won't pay for a course that costs enough to actually pay the instructor as much as minimum wage. And they lose out because they only ever get kids teaching them because anyone older simply can't subsist on that sort of money unless they are already drawing a pension or have some other form of independent income. Some kids stick it out for enough years to make their way up the ladder in the industry but most do a year or at most 2 then they're off to a "proper" job. Yet everyone agrees the life experience provided by older instructors is invaluable and of huge benefit, yet most Brits just won't pay for it, even though they themselves wouldn't even get out of bed for double the money.


Whilst on the face of it three students on board, each paying £500-700 for the 5 day course, looks pretty lucrative for the school owners, the overheads of running a coded boat, mooring, insuring and repairing it mean I doubt there is much that goes in the 'profit' column.

My instructor was a one man band, owner-instructor. He did it as a second job and as a lifestyle thing, getting him away from the missus and paying for his boat for the year.

Just like flying, sailing attracts wealthy people who want to pay almost nothing for the experience. Very few people make a good living out of boat businesses.
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eng_ch wrote:
The thing is, it's not just the ski industry - obviously that's the primary interest here, but there are other industries with similar practices that are maybe not so appealing. Legislation has to be universal.

By way of comparison, in Gibraltar qualified and experienced sailing instructors - who have spent years and lots of money training, so similar to ski instructors - are paid at most £400 per 5-day course. That 5-day course involves being responsible for people's lives and on-call 24/7 for 116 hours *continuously*. That works out at £3.44 per hour - also far below minimum wage. Until 3-4 years ago, the "going rate" was £350 per course, until my Chief Instructor there decided unilaterally to raise the rate (and got all the best instructors of course). However, he did it because it was the right thing to do and absorbed the cost himself. In Greece, the dinghy instructors are on a very similar deal to chalet staff.

British clients simply won't pay for a course that costs enough to actually pay the instructor as much as minimum wage. And they lose out because they only ever get kids teaching them because anyone older simply can't subsist on that sort of money unless they are already drawing a pension or have some other form of independent income. Some kids stick it out for enough years to make their way up the ladder in the industry but most do a year or at most 2 then they're off to a "proper" job. Yet everyone agrees the life experience provided by older instructors is invaluable and of huge benefit, yet most Brits just won't pay for it, even though they themselves wouldn't even get out of bed for double the money.


Whilst on the face of it three students on board, each paying £500-700 for the 5 day course, looks pretty lucrative for the school owners, the overheads of running a coded boat, mooring, insuring and repairing it mean I doubt there is much that goes in the 'profit' column.

My instructor was a one man band, owner-instructor. He did it as a second job and as a lifestyle thing, getting him away from the missus and paying for his boat for the year.

Just like flying, sailing attracts wealthy people who want to pay almost nothing for the experience. Very few people make a good living out of boat businesses.
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eng_ch wrote:
midgetbiker wrote:
marcellus wrote:
The main points of the new (current) rules;

- Seasonal workers must be paid at least the minimum wage for the sector (currently €9.88 an hour)
- Travel to the job, accommodation and food (including on days off) must be provided on top on the wage
- Additional benefits (eg lift pass, equipment hire, insurance, discounts on drinks) may be deducted from the minimum wage but only if clearly stated in the contract of employment.
- Any deductions made must be actual costs with supporting evidence and listed on the payslip
- Staff accommodation must meet strict minimum requirements
- UK chalet firms posting seasonal staff must carry out their substantial activities (have their registered offices, pay their taxes etc) in the UK and not France and have documentary proof
Documentation, including employment contracts, payslips, timesheets, health and safety risk assessments - translated into French - must be available on site if required by inspectors


All seems eminently reasonable, except:

- Travel to the job, accommodation and food (including on days off) must be provided on top on the wage

Why should an employer provide travel to and from a fixed place of work, nor accommodation (foc) unless there are no local alternatives, and obliged to provide free food on a day off is just (imo) ridiculous. Nothing to stop an employer providing any of those things foc, but to oblige them to, surely this means that seasonal worker will enjoy greater benefits then many other types of employees who have to provide those things from their own post tax incomes.


Not read the last page of the thread yet, but think this is an English comprehension thing... It's not that employers are obliged to provide accommodation etc., but that if they do so, it has to be in addition to the minimum wage and not deducted from it


Ok well that makes a little more sense. However I still don't personally see that an employer should not be allowed to offer accommodation/food/etc to employees at a cost, provided the employee is not obliged to take them up and suitable alternative local provision is available to them.
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eng_ch wrote:
The thing is, it's not just the ski industry - obviously that's the primary interest here, but there are other industries with similar practices that are maybe not so appealing. Legislation has to be universal.

By way of comparison, in Gibraltar qualified and experienced sailing instructors - who have spent years and lots of money training, so similar to ski instructors - are paid at most £400 per 5-day course. That 5-day course involves being responsible for people's lives and on-call 24/7 for 116 hours *continuously*. That works out at £3.44 per hour - also far below minimum wage. Until 3-4 years ago, the "going rate" was £350 per course, until my Chief Instructor there decided unilaterally to raise the rate (and got all the best instructors of course). However, he did it because it was the right thing to do and absorbed the cost himself. In Greece, the dinghy instructors are on a very similar deal to chalet staff.

British clients simply won't pay for a course that costs enough to actually pay the instructor as much as minimum wage. And they lose out because they only ever get kids teaching them because anyone older simply can't subsist on that sort of money unless they are already drawing a pension or have some other form of independent income. Some kids stick it out for enough years to make their way up the ladder in the industry but most do a year or at most 2 then they're off to a "proper" job. Yet everyone agrees the life experience provided by older instructors is invaluable and of huge benefit, yet most Brits just won't pay for it, even though they themselves wouldn't even get out of bed for double the money.


Is your example directly comparable? Are the low net wages a result of the instructor having deductions made for accommodation/subsistence etc?

I'm genuinely asking that, I have zero experience of sailing. Strikes me it could be, living on the boat etc. Equally it could be a result of paying a 'sub-contractor' a price for a 'piece of work', which is dodgy, but basically a whole different topic.
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bar shaker wrote:


Just like flying, sailing attracts wealthy people who want to pay almost nothing for the experience. Very few people make a good living out of boat businesses.


So it's a discretionary luxury good. The market determines what it is willing to pay and service providers decide whether they want to play at that price. What customers' individual wealth is has very little to do with that. Clearly there may be some for whom whatever the price it is irrelevant so happy to pay almost any premium for good service, but those are unicorns to chase as customers. If the market isn't willing to pay a "living wage" price maybe the offerring isn't as compelling as it needs to be.
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Skiing and sailing are similar in as much as you can teach yourself fairly easily, particularly these days with good quality equipment and reading/video material available. A lot of skiers and many sailors will just have a couple of lessons and then take it from there.

Flying an aircraft is a bit more regulated.
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Peter S wrote:
Skiing and sailing are similar in as much as you can teach yourself fairly easily, particularly these days with good quality equipment and reading/video material available. A lot of skiers and many sailors will just have a couple of lessons and then take it from there.


Only in the UK. Or only on dinghies. As soon as you want to sail a yacht outside the UK you need a piece of paper. Whether chartered or your own.
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midgetbiker wrote:
Is your example directly comparable? Are the low net wages a result of the instructor having deductions made for accommodation/subsistence etc?

I'm genuinely asking that, I have zero experience of sailing. Strikes me it could be, living on the boat etc. Equally it could be a result of paying a 'sub-contractor' a price for a 'piece of work', which is dodgy, but basically a whole different topic.


Most sailing instructors and skippers are freelance. Accommodation on the boat is only for the duration of the course. The clients are generally expected to pay for the instructor's/skipper's food, but it doesn't always happen and that can get very expensive when you feel obliged, for customer relations, to eat out with them every night. The problem is the industry runs on a shoestring and UK businesses' idea of competition tends to be primarily on price IME. Raising the prices across the board to a level where the people actually delivering the service can live on their pay would entail all the businesses to get together and agree to do so, and I believe that is called a cartel and hence illegal, even with the best of intentions.
Pay rates in the Med are better, but it is a 7-day a week job on duty 24/7, and not one you can physically do for months on end with only 25 days a year leave, or practically either because the season is limited.
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eng_ch wrote:
midgetbiker wrote:
Is your example directly comparable? Are the low net wages a result of the instructor having deductions made for accommodation/subsistence etc?

I'm genuinely asking that, I have zero experience of sailing. Strikes me it could be, living on the boat etc. Equally it could be a result of paying a 'sub-contractor' a price for a 'piece of work', which is dodgy, but basically a whole different topic.


Most sailing instructors and skippers are freelance. Accommodation on the boat is only for the duration of the course. The clients are generally expected to pay for the instructor's/skipper's food, but it doesn't always happen and that can get very expensive when you feel obliged, for customer relations, to eat out with them every night. The problem is the industry runs on a shoestring and UK businesses' idea of competition tends to be primarily on price IME. Raising the prices across the board to a level where the people actually delivering the service can live on their pay would entail all the businesses to get together and agree to do so, and I believe that is called a cartel and hence illegal, even with the best of intentions.
Pay rates in the Med are better, but it is a 7-day a week job on duty 24/7, and not one you can physically do for months on end with only 25 days a year leave, or practically either because the season is limited.


So whilst I sympathise with the instructors (and I'm sure @dp would be just as exercised by their pay and conditions) it is in fact a somewhat different situation (though one created by the same drivers).

In fact maybe the future of chalet hosting is in fact to move the provision of in chalet services to the gig economy. The idea of hordes of gap year Tobys completing their self assessment returns and paying their Class 2 & 4 stamp though makes me think this idea has its limits.
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