Eiffel Tower re-opens after recurring personnel strike

Eiffel Tower management and personnel have been in conflict over a new visitor welcome process

The Eiffel Tower has reopened to tourists this morning (Friday August 3) after a 36-hour shut down due to an ongoing worker strike.

The re-opening was confirmed by both management and the unions.

The famous monument had been closed since 16h on Wednesday (August 1), due to a personnel strike walk-out over the working conditions in the tourist welcome areas.

Tourists already in the tower were allowed to finish their visit, but no-one else was permitted to enter.

The tower received numerous complaints from visitors who had pre-booked tickets, but assured them that they would be entitled to a full refund.

Management and personnel have been in conflict due to what the latter claim is “bad management” of the lifts going up to the top of the tower, which - they say - has caused three-hour-long queues to form.

Union bosses say they are not against the lift system, but are fiercely opposed to “interminable queues”.

Much of the problem, they say, has been caused by management’s decision to create a specific, separate entrance for visitors wanting to use the lifts instead of the stairs.

They say that the problem has also been exacerbated by a system of advance time-stamped tickets, 50% of which are bought online (a rise of 30% compared to recent months).

In its defence, SETE (Société d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel) disputes that the waiting time has been as long as three hours, and says that the new ticketing system has been accompanied by a “significant increase in staff”.

Yet, it has conceded to the unions’ complaint over the single-entrance problem, and has said that for the month of August, it is ready to “test” a new system - proposed by the unions - that would see visitors grouped into two rows instead of just one.

This is not the first time that Eiffel Tower personnel have mounted a strike in recent months.

In April, the monument was shut for two days - along with its two restaurants and gardens - over similar complaints.

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