Eiffel Tower closed again as staff extend strike

Europe  AFP - Kiran Ridley
FEB 20, 2024 LISTEN
© AFP - Kiran Ridley

The Eiffel Tower will remain closed for a second straight day Tuesday as staff extend a strike, a union representative said.

The strike started Monday in protest over the way the monument is managed financially.

The tower's operator, SETE, said on its website that "visits of the monument will be disrupted on Tuesday".

It advised ticket holders to check its website before showing up, or to postpone their visit. E-ticket holders were asked to check their e-mails for further information.

The stoppage is the second strike at the Eiffel Tower within two months for the same reason.

Unions have criticised operator SETE for its business model that they say is based on an inflated estimate of future visitor numbers, while under-estimating construction costs.

Paris's most famous landmark attracts nearly seven million visitors a year, around three-quarters of them foreigners, according to its website.

During the Covid pandemic numbers dropped sharply due to closures and travel restrictions, but recovered to 5.9 million in 2022. Last year, it attracted 6.3 million visitors.

Visitor numbers to Paris are expected to swell this summer as the French capital hosts the Olympic Games.

In a joint statement Monday, the CGT and FO unions called on the city of Paris "to be reasonable with their financial demands to ensure the survival of the monument and the company operating it".

Alexandre Leborgne, a representative for the hard-left CGT labour union, explained that city hall, which is the majority owner of the monument, "refuses to negotiate for now".

A worker assembly would in a vote on Tuesday confirm the extension of the strike, called by the CGT and FO unions, he said.

(with AFP)