The Eiffel Tower in Paris during the pandemic, Source: Depositphotos

Was the Eiffel Tower strike worth the closure?

Was the Eiffel Tower strike worth the closure?

It depends on how you look at the issues plaguing the iconic Parisian attraction

The Eiffel Tower is back in business following an unprecedented six-day strike by SETE workers - the company managing its maintenance and operations. Rather than the usual disputes for higher wages and better working conditions - the standard ground for initiating a labour dispute - this industrial action was meant to really call the attention of the management and city authorities to the need for more robust financing and protection of the emblematic monument. Did the work boycott achieve its aims though?

CGT, the trade union that initiated the strike, for the second time in three months, claimed that the business model was inefficient since it inflamed the estimate of future visitor numbers, and underestimated the cost of maintenance and renovation.

The strikers also showed concern that there was neglect towards the maintenance. The tower is supposed to be repainted every 7 years, yet the last time this happened was 14 years ago.

On the downside

The six days of closure meant an income loss of between 1 and 2 million euros for the tourist site. SETE has once again apologized to the approximately 100,000 frustrated visitors who had bought a ticket but did not get to visit the tower, saying they will beautomatically and fully reimbursed as soon as possible”.

That itself cannot match the downfall in income from the forced closure during the height of the pandemic (in 2020 and 2021), which is estimated to be 130 million euros and also contributed to the current tensions and demands for filling up the financial gap.

20% increase in Eiffel Tower entry prices

The end-of-strike agreement, which will be submitted for approval to the Paris City Council in May, plans to include employees in monitoring the business model and the site's operations. It previews increasing the price for the entrance tickets by 20%, 145 million euros of additional investments for maintenance work and a return to the financial budget for 2025.



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