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Eiffel Tower closed again as staff extend strike

PARIS (AFP) – The Eiffel Tower, one of the world’s top tourist attractions, remained closed for a second straight day yesterday as staff extend a strike, a union representative told AFP.

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

The tower’s operator, SETE, said on its website “visits of the monument will be disrupted”.

It advised ticket holders to check its website before showing up, or to postpone their visit.

E-ticket holders were asked to check their emails for further information. The stoppage is the second strike at the Eiffel Tower within two months for the same reason.

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

The Eiffel Tower – Paris’ most famous landmark – attracts nearly seven million visitors a year, around three-quarters of them foreigners, according to its website.

During the Covid-19 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 on 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”.

Representative for the hard-left CGT labour union Alexandre Leborgne told AFP that city hall, which is the majority owner of the monument, “refuses to negotiate for now”.

A pedestrian looks on next to the Eiffel Tower and a banner reading ‘employees of the Eiffel Tower on strike’ in Paris, France. PHOTO: AFP