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Simon Butler wins court case

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rob@rar wrote:


You'll have a much better understanding of French law than me, but the only thing I'd add to what you said for qualifications below L4 is that independent working would be on the basis of temporary provision of their services rather than the right to become fully established.


I know you've gone through all this in detail for your model. What you say sounds right. The French have some similar things in their own legislation - for example a rollerskate instructor needs all the usual qualifications you can imagine but they allow certain people to work up to 300 hours teaching rollerblading with a lower qualification.

rob@rar wrote:

You're right about the potential for the office being obstructive about issuing Carte Pros. IIRC, I believe that Jean-Yves has (or is preparing to) move legal proceedings against some of the key officials in Albertville for not complying with French law.


That will be the key thing.

Trust me though, the French state is just as much a nightmare for the French as British ski instructors. At all levels there is obstruction and obfuscation so a small minority can profit from the system.
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Tubaski wrote:
If you dig out episode 14 of the Ski Instructors Podcast it is an extended interview with Simon Butler, where he goes into all the history and the final result (which was, as I understand, known some months ago and this final step was just a formality). As I recall (it's been a while since I listened to it) all the guys working for him are cleared too..
Well worth a listen if you've been following this at all.


https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-ski-instructor-podcast/id1451514234?mt=2

Thanks, that was really enlightening. I'd be interested to find out, but maybe nobody knows, whether his position was unique. Or were there other Brits who were similarly qualified who were allowed to carry on instructing unmolested.
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I thought it was made fairly clear in that podcast that others in the same situation as him had been given paperwork by BASI which allowed them to work. He was not given this paperwork for some reason, which being overlooked had lead to the problems.
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Yes, but that doesn't answer the unique bit of the question. My fault, I added the second part for clarity and completely obscured what I was looking for.

To rephrase more bluntly, was he thrown under the bus because of a uniquely unlucky set of circumstances, or because he is Simon Butler?
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@Riccardo, the latter but he had enough money to fight for what he believed was right.
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Quote:


Tubaski wrote:
If you dig out episode 14 of the Ski Instructors Podcast it is an extended interview with Simon Butler, where he goes into all the history and the final result (which was, as I understand, known some months ago and this final step was just a formality). As I recall (it's been a while since I listened to it) all the guys working for him are cleared too..
Well worth a listen if you've been following this at all.


https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-ski-instructor-podcast/id1451514234?mt=2

Thanks, that was really enlightening. I'd be interested to find out, but maybe nobody knows, whether his position was unique. Or were there other Brits who were similarly qualified who were allowed to carry on instructing unmolested.



Like @Riccardo, I found this really interesting. Simon Butler comes across really well and it's great to get his side of the whole thing. Does anybody know if there's anything in the public domain that gives BASI's side of the story? I'd like to hear their explanations for terminating his membership and denying him the MoU stamp, if they have any.
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Interesting to see the comments about Brexit and UKIP re Simon Bladon. This was a blog post from Nov 2014:
https://www.skipedia.co.uk/2014/11/im-like-a-modern-day-batman-says-anti-esf-campaigner/

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@RobMcQ, http://www.skimottaret.com/resources/EU-Working-Rights-Timeline.pdf

BASI published this a while ago from their perspective... In addition to SB there were around 20 other Grade 1's in the same boat who didnt get their grandfather rights. I have spoken to several of them and their views are interesting to say the least... In a nutshell when grandfather rights were offered it was done via the basi newsletter and only stated something along the lines of .... if you want to work in France this season contact us to get your working rights sorted. Some never got a letter, some got it at their home addresses when working abroad etc... Some of the 20+ people who were working in Scotland, Austria etc didnt bother and at the time it wasn't a case of forgoing Europewide working rights for the rest of your career. Also note Grade 1's over 35 were exempted from the GS test at the time. A fact forgotten by BASI when an age handicap was being discussed for the Eurotest...
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@skimottaret, Thanks for that. Ignoring how wrong their legal position has been shown to be, it sounds like there are serious issues with how they implemented the various phases in their document.
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A bit of coverage by the French press. Evidently a certain number of Frexit voters still haven't realized that France is a member of the EU

https://actu.orange.fr/france/un-moniteur-de-ski-britannique-triomphe-de-la-justice-francaise-CNT000001qfmMa/photos/la-station-de-ski-de-megeve-ou-exercait-le-moniteur-de-ski-simon-butler-da1bbbfdbfccbd09d8f4ce8ec6aa9803.html

I notice when Mr Butler loses there is wall to wall coverage but when he wins, very little. Nothing in the Dauphine Libere (which is under ESF control).
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@skimottaret, is it possible that although SB has agreed not to pursue BASI, one of the other instructors denied grandfather's rights could do so?
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pam w wrote:
@skimottaret, is it possible that although SB has agreed not to pursue BASI, one of the other instructors denied grandfather's rights could do so?


A good point, a (legal?) undertaking by one individual not to pursue action can't constrain another individual.
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[quote]

pam w wrote:
@skimottaret, is it possible that although SB has agreed not to pursue BASI, one of the other instructors denied grandfather's rights could do so?


A good point, a (legal?) undertaking by one individual not to pursue action can't constrain another individual.


@pam w, @Alastair Pink, Wouldn’t anybody pursuing that case have the same problem the SB mentions in the podcast, namely they’re pursuing rights which a French court has said they already have.
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You know it makes sense.
Simon reluctantly had to take BASI to court when they stripped him of his membership and license and ended up settling for a big figure that covered his legal fees. The others were granted L4 ISTD licenses but with a weird special case "without Eurotest" attached to it in 2008. They were all also granted the MoU stamp which was a gentlemen's agreement between the alpine nations and lowland associations which gave a pseudo right to work but later had this removed in 2013 as an "admin error" and in effect killed their right to work and made them easy targets for the local coppers, they could have through the same court process as Simon but 7 years and huge legal cost so most gave up or moved. They were all pretty hard done by, but, this stuff is 10-20 years old and I don't think anyone wants to pursue their own governing body. There are other cases of senior BASI people screwing lower level members but a big broom came through about a year ago and things are looking good to rebuild the association.
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davidof wrote:
A bit of coverage by the French press. Evidently a certain number of Frexit voters still haven't realized that France is a member of the EU

https://actu.orange.fr/france/un-moniteur-de-ski-britannique-triomphe-de-la-justice-francaise-CNT000001qfmMa/photos/la-station-de-ski-de-megeve-ou-exercait-le-moniteur-de-ski-simon-butler-da1bbbfdbfccbd09d8f4ce8ec6aa9803.html

I notice when Mr Butler loses there is wall to wall coverage but when he wins, very little. Nothing in the Dauphine Libere (which is under ESF control).


"Un moniteur de ski britannique triomphe de la justice française" is an interesting turn of phrase. Perhaps I am picking up a different nuance in translation from what would be understood by someone French though. I read it as "British ski instructor defeats French justice". Clearly that is not the case, since it is the French justice system has vindicated Butler.

At the end of the article I see "Dont le marathon juridique ne fera peut-être pas jurisprudence" which I read as something like 'Whose long saga may not have established case law". If that is right, then other instructors may not protected by the case, and would have to be prepared to fight their way through the justice system, proving their case as they went.

Have I got that right?
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skimottaret wrote:
......but a big broom came through about a year ago and things are looking good to rebuild the association.

Because of BASI's antics most of the instructors I deal with switched to the Irish Assoc well before that.
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@spyderjon, yeah there was and continues to be a lot of bad feeling generated by the previous administration and IASI is seen as more of a grass routes type of members association while BASI is more of a business that provides training and certification... The new BASI team didn't cover themselves in glory by not immediately offering refunds or credits for courses cancelled by covid shutdowns as IASI did...
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achilles wrote:
"Un moniteur de ski britannique triomphe de la justice française" is an interesting turn of phrase. Perhaps I am picking up a different nuance in translation from what would be understood by someone French though. I read it as "British ski instructor defeats French justice". Clearly that is not the case, since it is the French justice system has vindicated Butler.
In my limited comprehension of the language, I think that would be, "Un moniteur de ski britannique triomphe sur la justice française"

I read it as "British ski instructor triumphs of (ie by) French justice".
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admin wrote:
achilles wrote:
"Un moniteur de ski britannique triomphe de la justice française" is an interesting turn of phrase. Perhaps I am picking up a different nuance in translation from what would be understood by someone French though. I read it as "British ski instructor defeats French justice". Clearly that is not the case, since it is the French justice system has vindicated Butler.
In my limited comprehension of the language, I think that would be, "Un moniteur de ski britannique triomphe sur la justice française"

I read it as "British ski instructor triumphs of (ie by) French justice".



http://youtube.com/v/Jet29TQv2uA
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@achilles, it will form jurisprudence for similar cases of which there are a lot. The eurotest is dead afaiks, well at least as a barrier to entry.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Sat 23-05-20 20:48; edited 1 time in total
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@admin, that makes sense, thanks.

@davidof, Gotcha, thanks.
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skimottaret wrote:
a big broom came through about a year ago and things are looking good to rebuild the association.


I've been pondering joining again but it's not clear if things have really changed. Would you say so ?
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AndAnotherThing.. wrote:
skimottaret wrote:
a big broom came through about a year ago and things are looking good to rebuild the association.


I've been pondering joining again but it's not clear if things have really changed. Would you say so ?


BASI are doing an online presentation about the changes, maybe someone here has heard more?
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The presentation is on 2nd June, so far they've published this blog entry that doesn't really tell that much...
https://blog.basi.org.uk/what-has-basi-been-working-on/
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Tubaski wrote:
,,,an extended interview with Simon Butler, where he goes into all the history and the final result (which was, as I understand, known some months ago and this final step was just a formality). ...
https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-ski-instructor-podcast/id1451514234?mt=2
Interesting.

I was curious as to why Butler would let BASI off the hook.
At around 1:20 in the podcast he explains why - broadly the risk of costs set against the satisfaction of a victory.

I guess you have to know who the individuals were and what they personally had to gain from all this,
but clearly something went very seriously wrong in an organisation which seems to have been doing the
opposite of what it should have been doing - working to promote uk ski instructors' rights.
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Some of the BASI people didn't like SB from way back. Was it jealousy? Had he been a thorn in their side for a long time?

It really needs a digital archeologist to go through the dozens of threads on snowheads to make sense of the whole thing. I can see the BASI side where they'd cut a deal with the ESF to allow a certain elite of members work in France, they probably felt this was the best they could achieve without the very long legal battle that SB pursued and was in those members best interests. They backed the wrong horse though.

This is what SB said in the winter of 2004

Quote:
The Euro, or Speed Test, was brought in two years ago by the French to assess an instructor’s ability. I agree that they have the right to insist that foreign instructors also take this test. BASI (British Association of Snowsports Instructors) followed this move and incorporated the Speed Test into the Grade 1 exam. All French and British instructors who passed their exams prior to the Speed Test were exempted from taking it, and awarded the Test. It is because I employ BASI Grade 3 and 2 level instructors that I have not been granted the Speed Test. The ESF is able to employ unqualified instructors as Stagiers (trainees). They are able to work and train for up to four years before they have to pass the Speed Test and attain their French Diploma. This law is good as it enables a trainee instructor to work and pay for the training required to attain the level needed to pass the Speed Test while developing their teaching methods and working with real clients. I am simply asking to be able to operate under the same legislation as the French. At this time there is no law which enables our instructors to work under the same rules as our French counterparts so we knew prior to the court hearing what the result would be! In fact our lawyer had already prepared our appeal which went in the next day! We are now continuing to work under appeal and will be taking the case forward, if necessary to European Court in Brussels.


Is the fact that BASI is now "unsustainable" due to the money they lost in this court case?
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davidof wrote:
...Is the fact that BASI is now "unsustainable" due to the money they lost in this court case?
I don't know, but I'm more concerned with what they exist to do, which I would have thought would be to protect and promote the interests of UK ski instructors.

Maybe I didn't understand correctly, but I think the story is that when their member was illegally sent to jail in a foreign country,
these clowns, wait for it.... actually fought against him.


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Mon 25-05-20 8:25; edited 1 time in total
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^ When it comes to the alps BASI are small fish in big pond.
As an association they basically had 2x choices :

1) Work with French and accept their rules so L4 could work in France.
2) Take French to court and use European law to change their system so that L2-L4 can work in France.

Remember France is one of the few places in world where ski instruction is a full time career, as opposed to seasonal job for people in their 20s.
Rocking boat and choosing path number 2 would have been expensive and soured Anglo-French relations. I dont believe it was BASI's battle to change the ski instruction system in France?

However : I think Simon Butler was treated badly by BASI. I have no idea of the personal politics which were behind this but hope the association has moved on and seen error if its ways. Temporarily with-drawing his membership was unnecessary and vindictive. As it happened Simon Butler eventually won battle #2 himself. It took 15 years and much expense in court (... and ironically result is meaningless for most BASI members as result of Brexit).

Quote:
promote the interests of UK ski instructors.


BASI L2 is well respected in *every* other country in world apart from France.
USA, NZ, Canada, Norway, Italy, CH, Austria, Argentina <etc>
So I don't think BASI have failed here ?
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Haggis_Trap wrote:
^ When it comes to the alps BASI are small fish in big pond. ...
BASI L2 is well respected in *every* other country in world apart from France.... So I don't think BASI have failed here ?

My understanding of their purpose and their policy documents would suggest:
"BASI exists for the benefit of its members and works on their behalf.."

They failed miserably, colluding in illegal activity which resulted on one of their members going to jail.
That's a fairly serious failure.
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philwig wrote:


They failed miserably, colluding in illegal activity which resulted on one of their members going to jail.
That's a fairly serious failure.


In that case whenever there is a prosecution one party is taking part in illegal activity. Surely it was up to the courts to decide what the law was? BASI seems to have gone along with what the French law was at the time.
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Quote:
That's a fairly serious failure.


^ Simon Butler was treated badly by BASI. I have no insight into reasons (personal or otherwise) why this happened.
However you need to remember that his was a very unique circumstance based on specific time-line outlined above.

The point I was making is that BASI L2 is well accepted in every nation on earth : even France if you pass Test-Technique like a local.
Therefore, as a whole, I would say BASI does work on behalf of its members?
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Haggis_Trap wrote:
The point I was making is that BASI L2 is well accepted in every nation on earth : even France if you pass Test-Technique like a local.
Therefore, as a whole, I would say BASI does work on behalf of its members?
It depends on how you look at it. If you look at it from the perspective of employment rights rather than recognition of professional qualifications you might reach a different answer to that question.
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Some more stuff from the EU: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1590399502406&uri=CELEX:32019R0907
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rob@rar wrote:
Haggis_Trap wrote:
The point I was making is that BASI L2 is well accepted in every nation on earth : even France if you pass Test-Technique like a local.
Therefore, as a whole, I would say BASI does work on behalf of its members?
It depends on how you look at it. If you look at it from the perspective of employment rights rather than recognition of professional qualifications you might reach a different answer to that question.


No doubt : recognition of qualification is entirely different issue from right to work : brexit about to prove that Sad

However is it really BASIs role to rock boat and try to force changes to local employment law in France?
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And an interesting article (in French) on the same problems faced by French snowboarders for which the SB judgement may help. They too have been to court to exercise their rights.

https://www.fluofun.fr/news/20851-la-france-vers-un-vrai-monitorat-d.html


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Mon 25-05-20 11:01; edited 1 time in total
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Haggis_Trap wrote:
However is it really BASIs role to rock boat and try to force changes to local employment law in France?
It was never about forcing changes to employment law, simply observing what was already in place across all EU nations. This is a far broader issue than just Butler, but perhaps not expelling a member who was going through a legal process to require the French authorities to observe their own laws would have been prudent?
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Haggis_Trap wrote:
However is it really BASIs role to rock boat and try to force changes to local employment law in France?


It touches on the broader question of who enforces EU regulation. Private individuals and companies or the EU authorities.
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Haggis_Trap wrote:
Therefore, as a whole, I would say BASI does work on behalf of its members?


really? L3 members used to be able to work in FR for 4 years while training for their L4 exams, then that long standing protocol was mysteriously removed. Read this "agreement" http://www.skimottaret.com/resources/Satolas-Protocol.pdf made in secret in 2006 where AL dropped a court case in Europe (later won by Germany) in exchange for getting 40 Snowboarders (many going on to become BASI SB trainers) the right to work in FR and 22 others who got a free pass on their speedtest at the Garmish giveaway. Is that the top brass at the time working on behalf of members? ten years later the same people removed the MoU stamp from 20 odd level 4's including Simon Butler (who coincidentally competed for UK clients in the same French resort of Megeve). Two sitting board members wrote written letters of complaint to the board in an effort to have SB removed from BASI. They then proceeded to oust him from the association, a move that cost the members >£250k at the same time as spending >£100k to send a 20+ contingent to Argentina, >£100k in an IT system that was meant to streamline operations and cut costs yet staffing costs subsequently rose. A cash reserve of >£500k of members money whittled down due to incompetence.

Lets hope the new board performs better, early signs are positive.
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AndAnotherThing.. wrote:
Haggis_Trap wrote:
However is it really BASIs role to rock boat and try to force changes to local employment law in France?


It touches on the broader question of who enforces EU regulation. Private individuals and companies or the EU authorities.


The courts.
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@davidof, Maybe I should have asked who pays ?
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