Eiffel Tower stays shut as strike drags on

16th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 16 (AFP) - Management and workers at the Eiffel Tower in Paris were due to hold talks Thursday to try to resolve a labour dispute which has kept the famous monument closed to the public for three days.

PARIS, Sept 16 (AFP) - Management and workers at the Eiffel Tower in Paris were due to hold talks Thursday to try to resolve a labour dispute which has kept the famous monument closed to the public for three days.  

The 250 employees of the company that runs the tower began their strike Tuesday, saying they were concerned for their job security ahead of the 2005 expiration of the concession agreement with the city of Paris, which owns the property and structure.  

But the management of the company, the Societe Nouvelle d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SNTE), maintain that is only a "pretext" and the real reason for the strike is a warning given to one of the workers.  

Thousands of tourists hoping to ascend the 324-metre (1,070-foot) tower have reacted with dismay after being turned away from the closed ticket booths.  

The structure is usually visited by around 15,000 people a day this time of year, with many forking out over EUR 10.40 (USD 12.65) to go to the top for the spectacular view across Paris.  

The last strike at the monument dates back to 1998, when workers aired grievances about implementation of the 35-hour work week.  

One of the world's most recognisable landmarks, the Eiffel Tower attracts six million visitors every year, the majority of them foreign tourists, generating EUR 44 million in ticket sales of which the city gets nearly EUR 6 million.  

It welcomed its 210 millionth visitor last year.  

Known as the Iron Lady, the metal structure was designed by engineer Gustave Eiffel and built in 1889 as a temporary exhibit for the World Fair, but its success - and its usefulness as a telegraph relay - turned it into a permanent feature of the skyline.  

French radio has been using it to transmit broadcasts since 1918, and French television added its equipment to the top in 1957.   The tower held the record as the world's highest building until 1929, when it was eclipsed by New York City's Chrysler Building.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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