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Towards a third day of closure of the Eiffel Tower

Photo: Geoffroy Van der Hasselt Agence France-Presse The Eiffel Tower will probably remain inaccessible until Thursday, with the renewable strike launched on Monday by the two unions representing staff appearing to be bogged down.

France Media Agency in Paris

February 20, 2024

  • Europe

The most famous monument in France closed for a third day in a row. The Eiffel Tower will probably remain inaccessible until Thursday, the renewable strike launched on Monday by the two unions representing the staff seeming to be bogged down.

“There is no chance that it will be unblocked overnight” from Tuesday to Wednesday, Stéphane Dieu, union representative of the CGT, majority representative of some 360 ​​employees, told AFP on Tuesday. of the Eiffel Tower Operating Company (SETE).

The management of SETE “refuses to negotiate” and the City of Paris, its ultra-majority shareholder, “even refuses to receive us”, assures Mr. Dieu to explain why the negotiations ended Tuesday morning.

The closure arouses the frustration of thousands of visitors, mainly foreigners (around 80% according to 2023 statistics). They are automatically reimbursed, SETE assured AFP.

Five months before the Olympic Games (July 26-August 11), the standoff between the two unions — CGT and FO — and the municipality has as its object the economic model of the SETE, currently being rewriting with an amendment to the public service delegation contract which runs until 2030.

The amendment must be validated in May at the Paris Council. But “if the owner (the town hall) imposes an untenable model, we will show our disapproval in July” during the Olympics, warns Stéphane Dieu.

The two unions had already launched a strike leading to the closure of the Iron Lady on December 27, the hundredth anniversary of the death of Gustave Eiffel.

They criticize the town hall for “seeking profitability at all costs and in the short term” and ask it to be “reasonable in terms of its financial requirements in order to ensure the sustainability of the monument and the 'company that manages it.'

The economic balance of the Eiffel Tower, which in 2023 returned to higher attendance than it was before Covid-19, with 6.3 million visitors, was weakened by some 120 million euros in shortfall during the two years of health crisis (2020 and 2021).

To cope, SETE was recapitalized to the tune of 60 million euros in 2021. But to the loss of revenue was added an equivalent additional bill — around 130 million euros — for additional costs of renovation work, mainly linked to the current painting campaign, complicated by the discovery of traces of lead.

According to the CGT, the current contract is biased by an “overvaluation of revenue based on annual attendance targets of 7.4 million visitors”, i.e. “attendance levels never before reached”.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116