Skip to content

Strikers block Eiffel Tower access for 2nd day, threaten to dig in

Strike aims to increase salaries, improve maintenance as visits ramp up as Olympics near
Visitors stand at the closed gates leading to the Eiffel Tower, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 in Paris. Visitors to the Eiffel Tower were turned away for the second consecutive day because of a strike over poor financial management at one of the world’s most-visited sites. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

A strike at the Eiffel Tower over poor financial management turned away visitors on Tuesday for the second consecutive day.

Denis Vavassori of the CGT union, which represents a large number of the Eiffel Tower’s employees, said its members voted unanimously to extend the strike on Tuesday. He said employees were willing to persist until their demands are met, but hope to reach an agreement with the Paris municipality, the monument’s owner, before the start of the Summer Games.

The 330-meter (1,083-foot) landmark in central Paris has seen soaring visitor numbers in the lead-up to the Olympics in the French capital.

“It would be a shame to continue the strike and its demands during the Olympic Games,” Vavassori said in an interview with The Associated Press. “For now, it looks like (the strike) could go on for several days, even weeks.”

The operator of the Eiffel Tower did not respond to AP’s requests for comment.

Tourists planning to visit the Eiffel Tower on Tuesday were warned of disruptions in multiple languages on its website. Visitors are advised to check the website before heading to the monument or to postpone their trip. Electronic ticket owners were told to check their inboxes beforehand.

The strike aims to increase salaries in proportion to the incoming revenue from ticket sales and improved maintenance of the 135-year-old Tower that will feature prominently in the July 26-Aug. 11 Paris Games and Paralympics that follow.

Union leaders have repeatedly criticized the Eiffel Tower operator’s business model, saying it’s based on an inflated estimate of future visitor numbers, at the expense of maintenance cost expenses and employees’ work compensation.

The Eiffel Tower is typically open 365 days a year. Tuesday’s closure is the second in two months due to strikes. In December, it was closed to visitors for an entire day during Christmas and New Year’s holidays because of a strike over contract negotiations.

Last year, the monument was closed to visitors for 10 days during massive protests across France against the government’s plan to reform the country’s pension system.

READ ALSO: Notre Dame just one year off of arising from ashes of devastating fire