Eiffel Tower To Remain Closed Saturday Morning, Unions Say

France’s Eiffel Tower will stay closed on Saturday morning after personnel opted to extend a walkout over the monument’s management, unions said Friday.

The strike at one of the world’s most well-known tourist destinations began on Monday and is the second in two months in response to what unions claim is insufficient investment.

SETE, the tower’s operator, has recommended tourists to check its website or postpone their visit.

The operator announced that ticket holders would be refunded.

Unions have criticized SETE for relying on an inflated prediction of future visitor numbers while underestimating repair and maintenance costs.

The unions also claim that city hall is charging the Eiffel Tower’s operator an excessive leasing price, sapping cash for essential repair work.

On Thursday, SETE vowed new measures to address these concerns, including raising ticket prices by 20%.

An adult ticket to take the lift to the summit now costs 29.40 euros ($31), with those who hike up partway by steps paying somewhat less.

The operator also announced that the funding for maintenance work would be more than doubled.

But unions claimed the plans were insufficient.

They planned to convene another meeting on Saturday morning to decide whether to continue their demonstration.

SETE also promised to reach a contract on “employment conditions and salaries” for employees within a week.

However, CGT union leader Stephane Dieu stated that the strikers rejected the offer since it did not meet their expectations.

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

“The Eiffel Tower does not have enough protection,” she wrote on X.

During the Covid epidemic in 2020 and 2021, the Eiffel Tower had a loss of around 120 million euros ($130 million).

Its operator has recently obtained a 60 million euro recapitalisation, which unions claim is insufficient given the need for extensive maintenance work, including a new paint job.

Visitors to the Eiffel Tower fell drastically under Covid because to closures and travel restrictions, but recovered to 5.9 million in 2022 and 6.3 million last year.

Gustave Eiffel’s masterwork has been repainted 19 times since its construction at the 1889 World’s Fair.

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