In mid-February, the floods of tourists should have been in full swing, and the sound of skis on the freshly groomed snow made the mountain resonate. And with the school holidays, his army of little hands should have been activated, in the restaurants, on the slopes, behind the ski lift ticket offices. But the start of 2021 has taken a turn that no seasonal dared imagine.
All his plans fell apart …
Normally perched at a height of 1,860 meters, in the heart of the Alpe-d’Huez resort (Isère), Édith accuses the blow. Since the announcement of the closure of the ski lifts by Prime Minister Jean Castex, on December 24, to counter the momentum of the coronavirus epidemic, the fiftieth birthday has been hoping that the government will reverse its sentence. But, almost three months later, it is clear that the season is indeed wasted, and that she will not have worked all winter. “We are organizing ourselves to leave home for six months, I had everything planned. And then the ax falls, our whole project falls apart. Psychologically, it’s hard ”, she breathes.
Usually an employee of the restaurant and entertainment chain on the snow-capped heights, La Folie Douce, the seasonal worker had yet signed a promise of employment. If all her plans collapsed when her employer lowered the iron curtain on her establishments, Edith still hoped to benefit from partial unemployment. No work, but a fraction of the income: the situation would have saved the furniture. But then again, his hopes were dashed when his management told him that his employment contract would not be postponed, but canceled. “I sent emails, I told them I didn’t care if I was on short-time work, but I was told no, that I won’t be hired until the situation is resolved”, she confides. The CGT advised her to take legal action, but the employee did not resolve it. “If I do that, my job, I sure won’t get it next year. And then it’s still a small village, people talk. “
The cold shower, Coline also knew it. From the top of her 24 years, the biology student has decided to put her university course on hold to embark on the seasons, before the health crisis comes to reshuffle the cards. If the young woman had also signed a promise of employment with a restaurant in Courchevel (Savoie), her employer turned a deaf ear when it came to signing. “I asked my employer to be hired, I told them that I had seen on TV that state aid existed to help employers recruit and allow seasonal workers to receive partial unemployment. But I was told that there would still be charges to pay on their side no matter what and that they did not have the means ”, the waitress is sorry.
Promises but little concrete
At the end of January, the Minister for Public Accounts, Olivier Dussopt, had indeed promised mountain stakeholders a “Massive aid” to go up the slope. Twenty days ago, it was the turn of the Minister of Labor, Élisabeth Borne, to once again invite tourism professionals to hire seasonal workers, even if it means placing them on partial unemployment afterwards, “100% supported” and “Until the end of the season in April”. But, behind the fine words, the reality is quite different. If she managed to find at the last minute a three-week contract in a factory after the cancellation of her winter season, Coline still had no choice but to return to live with her parents in La Manche.
Bernard, he simply could not negotiate the precious compensation. Posted behind the ski lifts of the public authority of the small resort of Mont-Saxonnex (Haute-Savoie) for six winters, the public status of his employer deprives him of partial unemployment. “I was like everyone else, I waited to find out what was going to happen, and then I found out that I was not going to be compensated. I couldn’t find anything else to do at all, another job. At 61, I was not going to convert to a ski instructor, and then even they are in difficulty ”, he recounts. The former telecoms specialist who converted to a seasonal worker a few years ago on the death of his wife, who was also his partner, has to make do with RSA to fill his fridge. “I haven’t been able to work during the summer season, so here I am without accommodation, I no longer have a car, I am staying with friends. “ Convinced that his age is an additional handicap to the economic slump, the seasonal worker is in the dark: “The next few months are going to be difficult. I see them the only way I can see them, that is, I don’t see them. “
Do not fit in the boxes
The sixty-year-old may well have access to the help of 900 euros per month promised by the government. His file, under review for over a month, leaves him languishing. But his associates, they had the heart of it: neither one nor the other has the right to the inestimable jackpot. Seasonal since 2020 only, Coline does not fit into the boxes: in order to receive aid, you have to justify a minimum number of hours worked in 2019, while she was still a student. The new seasonal, too young, hardly has the right to RSA. As for Edith, with already 900 euros of income in her pocket, she can not claim the help of the State either. “I earn too much to get help, but not enough to live. My rent is already at 600 euros, when we add water and electricity, there isn’t much left “, she laughs bitterly. Forced to fend for itself, the seasonal whistles her unemployment rights, which will run out in August. At the foot of the wall, the woman from Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur rushed to the first job offer she found for her summer season. A promise of hiring for a job in a low-paid ready-to-wear store, but the guarantee of recharging his account of hours worked with Pôle emploi. Unless a new confinement once again sweeps his plans with a backhand.