Winter seems to be upon us once again, the telltale signs being ski and board shows in London, online over-excitement following occasional snowflakes spotted on resort webcams, and stupid articles in the national press, a sector which seems to be staffed entirely by non-skiing London-based fashion victims. (No Evan, I do not mean you. Get back on the chairlift.)
The Guardian kicked off the fun this season by sending someone off to write a load of sycophantic rubbish about a chalet host training course. Not one of the training courses which tour ops routinely run every year for all their chalet staff. (Because they kind of have to, right? Assuming they want staff with a vague inkling of what they’re supposed to be doing at any rate.) No, this course was run by Ski Weekends, marketed as some sort of holiday and actually paid for by a bunch of people who I assume have an even more tenuous grasp on the principles of basic arithmetic than I do, if that’s possible.
Consider the figures: working as a chalet host isn’t likely to pay more than about £350 a month for a four-month season. At £545 for the week plus flights and transfers, the cost of the course has just wiped out half your earnings. I’m all for investing in your own development, but really that’s beginning to make £9K a year for a degree in Klingon Studies look reasonable.
Still, you have to hand it to Ski Weekends – I didn’t think there were any new ways for employers to rip off their seasonal staff, but making them pay for their own training, that’s genius. Presumably they even make a profit on the deal. Their staff, meanwhile, subsidise Ski Weekends to the tune of half a season’s wages and deprive themselves of a week’s earnings to boot since the company no longer needs to run a training course at the beginning of the season and can bring everyone out a week later.
And where did I read about all this? Yes, in the Guardian, that left-wing champion of the low paid, scourge of unscrupulous fat cat employers and tireless campaigner for the introduction of a living wage. Where’s Polly Toynbee when you need her, I ask. FFS, Guardian, what are you thinking about? If it was hospital cleaners and catering staff paying half their wage for training and being fobbed off with lousy accommodation as part of an ‘employment package’ you’d be up in arms about it all over the front page. We just don’t have the necessary working class cachet, do we. Maybe I should get a flat cap and a ferret.
Presumably they imagine the fact that chalet skivvies get to spend their free time skiing rather than hanging around trendy London wine bars with irritating tossers who write drivel for the Guardian makes up for all the rest of it.
Actually, they might just about have a point there, when I come to think about it.