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13 Sep 2017

BY Gary Noakes


Why Brexit could wipe out cheap chalet breaks

Brexit will “force tour operators to relocate to Ireland” and some holiday types will become “unaffordable” unless rules on posting workers overseas are sorted out, respondents to a survey have claimed.

Downhill skier in the sun

“There is a good chance that the concept of a catered chalet holiday at reasonable prices will disappear completely”

An email poll of UK travel firms representing eight million summer clients and 500,000 skiers found serious concerns about the right to post staff overseas once Brexit is completed. Travel firms fear that the Posted Workers Directive, which allows seasonal staff to work abroad, will be scrapped.

The directive allows firms to post staff to EU countries, but to work under UK employment contracts, rather than those of the country where they are located. It was introduced in 1996 to overcome the obstacles that firms would face if they had to deal with the different employment laws in each of the 27 other EU countries. Brussels agreed that it was simpler to allow companies to adhere to their own laws when positioning staff overseas.

Insurance specialist MPI, which commissioned the poll, estimates that 10,000 British staff work overseas, while 35,000 foreign employees work in the UK.

Among the 207 responses was one operator that said: “We will move the company to Ireland and employ an Irish workforce,” while another claimed: “Our current business model would no longer be viable.”

A winter sports specialist added: “There is a very good chance that the concept of a catered chalet holiday at reasonable prices will disappear completely,” while others said they could no longer run their own hotels.

MPI said Brexit was “top of many people’s list at the moment”. Michael Pettifer, managing director, said: “We and the other trade bodies will present the facts to the Department for Exiting the EU and encourage them to negotiate maintaining the status quo on the Directive.”

MPI believes that if the provisions of the directive are lost, the impact will be felt far beyond the immediate travel industry, with staff in pubs, bars, ski schools and chalet companies being unable to source UK employees.

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