Eiffel Tower is shut down after employees go on strike over new ticket policy

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The Eiffel Tower was turning away tourists for a second day on Thursday as workers pressed a strike over a new access policy which they say is causing unacceptably long wait times for visitors. 

The monument has been closed since Wednesday afternoon as unions locked horns with management over a decision to assign separate elevators to visitors with pre-booked tickets and those who buy them on site. 

They say the policy is responsible for ‘monstrous’ queues. 

The Eiffel Tower was turning away tourists for a second day on Thursday as workers pressed a strike over a new access policy which they say is causing unacceptably long wait times for visitors 

Workers say the changes have resulted in lopsided queues that can extend to three hours for those waiting to pay for tickets, and up to an hour for internet customers who are supposed to have reserved time slots. 

Since last month, the Eiffel Tower has been allowing half of its tickets to be booked in advance for scheduled entry times.

Previously, pre-booked tickets accounted for around one-fifth of the entries.

But the tower’s management has also decided to reserve specific elevators for each type of ticket holder, a move which ‘creates lines that are at times monstrous and often lopsided’, the CGT union said in a statement.

During off-peak times for pre-booked tickets, such as early afternoon or evening, the reserved elevator might be half empty – despite lines of up to three hours at the elevator for walk-ins.

And high demand at the pre-booked elevator can cause backups that force people to wait long beyond their scheduled visit.

One tourist, who spoke to AFP yesterday, was disappointed that her visit to the monument with her husband and two children could not go ahead. 

She said: ‘We may or may not come again, because we spent so much money.

‘It’s not nice, for whatever reason they have the strike for, it’s an injustice to visitors.’ 

However, CGT union’s Denis Vavassori explained: ‘Beyond the waste in terms of efficiency, and the unhappy visitors… employees’ patience has run out.’ 

The monument has been closed since Wednesday afternoon as unions locked horns with management over a decision to assign separate elevators to visitors with pre-booked tickets and those who buy them on site. They say the policy is responsible for 'monstrous' queues 

The monument has been closed since Wednesday afternoon as unions locked horns with management over a decision to assign separate elevators to visitors with pre-booked tickets and those who buy them on site. They say the policy is responsible for 'monstrous' queues 

The monument has been closed since Wednesday afternoon as unions locked horns with management over a decision to assign separate elevators to visitors with pre-booked tickets and those who buy them on site. They say the policy is responsible for ‘monstrous’ queues 


Staff want all the elevators to be available to all visitors, no matter what kind of ticket they have bought. 

Negotiations to end the deadlock dragged on well into Wednesday night and resumed early on Thursday, when workers were supposed to vote on a proposal offered by the site’s operator SETE, which is majority owned by the city of Paris.

‘The SETE is well aware of the disappointment for visitors because of the monument’s closure, and its negative impact on the image of both the city and country,’ the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The tower, which welcomed more than six million visitors last year, has been hit by repeated strikes by its 300-strong staff in recent years over issues ranging from pick-pocketing to maintenance work.

It has also been beset with multiple security issues and just last month, a newly built perimeter defences were placed around the monument to protect against terror threats.



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