BAIE LONGUE, St. Martin -- Employees went on strike at La Samanna,
an upscale resort here, causing a two-day disruption in service at
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
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
Guests in about 20 rooms checked out and either ended their
vacations early or were relocated to other hotels, Volponi
The resort has 81 rooms and was at about 50% occupancy during
"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.