BAIE LONGUE, St. Martin -- Employees went on strike at La Samanna, an upscale resort here, causing a two-day disruption in service at the property.

According to general manager John Volponi, employees struck on Jan. 19 but were back on the job early on Jan. 21.

"Things are back to normal now and we are fully open," he said.

The staff was protesting a French law that will go into effect by February 2002, stating that the workweek be reduced from 39 hours to 35 hours.

According to Volponi, the workers' union is demanding an even shorter workweek, but seeking compensation for 35 hours.

The employees held vocal protests and were said to attempt to stop managers from running the hotel by interfering with restaurant operations and room cleaning.

No guests were charged for their rooms while the protests were going on.

Guests in about 20 rooms checked out and either ended their vacations early or were relocated to other hotels, Volponi said.

The resort has 81 rooms and was at about 50% occupancy during the strike.

"We had breakfast available each morning and lunch one afternoon, but unfortunately we were unable to offer dinner due to our limited staff," said Volponi.

Prior to guest arrivals over the weekend, management attempted to "call all guests and let them know the situation to see if they wanted to reschedule their vacation," he added.

Guests who were not contacted before arrival were met by a hotel representative at the airport and alerted to the situation.

Volponi said La Samanna management has been negotiating with union representatives and will continue to do so "for as long as we have to in order to get this worked out."

The property is managed by Orient-Express Hotels.

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