• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

France’s iconic Eiffel Tower closes on creator’s 100th death anniversary

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Famous monument, which remains open 365 days a year, shut down amid strike by staff

A night view shows the Eiffel tower, reflected in a cars roof, in Paris, France, April 30, 2016. — Reuters
A night view shows the Eiffel tower, reflected in a car’s roof, in Paris, France, April 30, 2016. — Reuters

The Eiffel Tower, a historic monument in Paris, France, was closed to visitors on Wednesday after workers went on strike ahead of contract negotiations with the city, CBS News reported.

The strike coincided with planned events marking the 100th death anniversary of the tower’s creator, Gustave Eiffel, which left tourists, who had booked tickets to access the 134-year-old monument, disappointed.

According to The Guardian, the powerful General Confederation of Labour (CGT) union said the industrial action taking place ahead of contract negotiations with City Hall, which owns the tower, was in protest over “the current way it is managed”.

Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE), the corporation that runs the tower, is accused by union officials of being “heading for disaster” because of its “too ambitious and unsustainable” economic plan.

They claim that the plan is based on an overly optimistic projection of future ticket sales revenue and an underestimation of the skyrocketing costs of maintenance and repairs.

According to SETE, the iconic site is “the most visited monument that you have to pay for in the world” as it welcomes almost seven million visitors a year — around 75% of whom are foreigners — with around 800 employees who work at the tower every day.

The famous tourist attraction is open 365 days a year, apart from occasional strikes, and it was unclear when it would open again, according to an Eiffel Tower spokesperson.

Despite the tower being closed on Eiffel’s death anniversary, a prerecorded musical programme for his memorial was still broadcast on French television on Wednesday night.

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