France: Eiffel Tower to reopen after six-day strike

It is the SETE union’s second strike in the last three months.
France: Eiffel Tower to reopen after six-day strike

The Eiffel Tower in Paris was set to reopen to visitors on Sunday, 25 February following a six-day closure due to strikes.

Last Monday, workers first walked out, raising concerns over how the landmark was managed.

This is the second strike at the renowned tower in the last three months, as Paris prepares to host the 2024 Olympic Games this summer.

Its operator, Société d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE), announced a deal with unions on Saturday. SETE apologised to ticket holders and promised to refund them for bookings impacted by the strike, which resulted in the loss of around 100,000 entries.

The Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) Union announced that employees had opted to strike over SETE's financial model, which it claimed was based on an exaggerated prediction of future visitor numbers and an underestimation of maintenance and refurbishment expenses.

Stéphane Dieu, speaking on behalf of the union, accused SETE of focusing on short-term profits.

Strikers have also raised alarm about the monument's condition, which, according to Le Monde, has not been repainted in 14 years, rather than the typical seven, and other restoration work which is behind schedule.

This week's strike was originally scheduled to last five days, but CGT stated on Friday that staff voted to extend it to Saturday after rejecting SETE's initial proposal. SETE announced on Saturday that it had achieved an agreement with the unions "under which the parties will regularly monitor the company's business model, investment in works and revenue through a body that will meet every six months."

With the goal of balancing its budget by 2025, it said that both parties committed to invest around €380 million (£325 million) in the landmark's construction and maintenance through 2031.

On Thursday, French Culture Minister Rachida Dati proposed that the Eiffel Tower be classed as a "historical monument" so that the state can help fund repairs if necessary.

The Eiffel Tower was last shuttered on December 27 when workers staged a protest — again against its management — to honour the centennial of the tower's inventor, Gustave Eiffel.

Eiffel, a civil engineer, gained his name by constructing bridges and viaducts for the French railway network. However, he was most recognised for the tower, which was built to showcase France's modern industrial power on a global scale as the focus of the 1889 Paris Exposition, or the world's fair.

Built in less than two years, it was the highest skyscraper in the world at the time and quickly became synonymous with the French capital.

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France: Eiffel Tower to reopen after six-day strike


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