Gap year students stage 'peaceful protest'

A gap year is all about new experiences, though a peaceful protest probably wasn't what this group of gappers had in mind.

Seven British ski resort workers have barricaded themselves into a ski lodge in the French Alps in a 'peaceful protest'.

The seven, made up of graduates and gap year students, have staged a 'sit-in', claiming that the owner of the luxury ski lodge is exploiting casual labour.

The group are calling themselves 'Les Menuires 7' (after the name of the ski resort) and they claim they're owed £3,400 in travel expense and three weeks' work.

The group all work for Skithe3V, a London-based ski company that owns two luxury chalets in Les Menuires in the French Alps.

They were rushed out to bolster numbers for the half term and to continue working until the end of the ski season. However, after three weeks the company announced they were no longer required and that they must leave the next day.

They were told that they were all sacked, and an e-mail was sent round claiming that they had abused company rules in relation to things like 'rubbish clearance', 'uniform codes' and 'fragrant disrespect for our company'.

Gap year students stage 'peaceful protest'

Aanya Madhani, 22, a Cambridge University graduate from Ilford, Essex, who started work for Skithe3v on the 1st February, told The Telegraph: "He needs to be exposed so that he cannot do it again.

"We were all told it was a job for the entire season. We worked hard and we expect to be paid.

"We will not leave until he pays us. He is just trying to exploit us. We just want to make sure that it does not happen again.

"The money is not relevant. We couldn't care less. It is the principle. He has picked on the wrong people this time."

Aanya is staging the protest with gap year students Paddy Bartram and Angus Briggs, both aged 19 and from Norwich, Rachael Smethurst, 22, of Bolton, Lucy Hayes, 21, of Crowborough, East Sussex, and married couple David and Hayley Haines, both 47, from Devon.

A Facebook page has been set up to spread the word of 'Les Menuires 7' and they're already up to 4,900 likes, showing the power of social-media.

And according to Facebook, 'Les Menuires 7' posted this message:

"After a four hour meeting the company has had to back down over it's miserly offer and has had to stump up some serious dosh. We've received half of what we are owed in cash and the rest will follow at the end of the month. This will be overseen by the French authorities who will enforce payment. Failure to pay the sums due (which they have worked out - not us or the company - based on hours worked) will result in a large fine for skithe3v. In addition, we believe the company have had to register in France for tax purposes and will have to formally employ all future staff, declare them, pay taxes and social security on their wages and keep proper records of hours worked. Brilliant!

"We have been told we can stay in the chalet until Monday morning, which gives us a weekend on the piste (and, of course, in the bars). Thanks to everyone for their support. It has been amazing. We would never have got this far without it. From a Facebook page to global news coverage within four days… c'est incroyable!

"Lots of thanks, hugs, kisses and love all round to each and every one of you, including those who supported the ex-boss! Life is good and we're Les Menuires 7..."

We attempted to contact Skythe3V to comment but they were unavailable.

What do you think gappers? Do you think they're right to stage a protest? What would you do?