Strike Leaves Eiffel Tower Closed, Visitors Upset

Thibault Camus / AP Images

A strike that started at 4 p.m. local time on Wednesday left the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, closed and would-be visitors upset.

According to a report from The Guardian, the reason the union chose to strike is due to a new online booking procedure that causes “monstrous” lines of tourists for the Parisian icon. Last year, some 6 million people visited the “Iron Lady,” and last month those in charge decided to set aside half of the tower’s daily tickets for those who purchase online and schedule a time slot. Before the change, only 20 percent of each day’s tickets were used in that manner. The result of the move led to the outrageous lines.

On Wednesday, talks between management company SETE and CGT union officials broke down, and the site closed at 4 p.m., according to a France 24 report. While visitors who were already inside the 1,063-foot tall tower were not forced to leave, nobody else was allowed to go up, and the closure will last until an agreement is somehow reached.

According to the CGT union, another problem with the newly implemented policies is that some of the elevators remain reserved for different types of ticket holders, which “creates lines that are at times monstrous and often lopsided.”

The CGT’s Denis Vavassori said, “Beyond the waste in terms of efficiency, and the unhappy visitors… employees’ patience has run out.”

Overall, the union merely wants management to make an adjustment in the way the elevators are used in order to help manage the flow of visitors in a reasonable manner, but SETE refused despite the unhappy customers and employees resulting from the lopsided elevator usage and increased wait times.

Would-be Eiffel Tower visitor James Andre said, “This has to be the Frenchest story of them all. The Eiffel Tower is on strike.”

The monument’s Twitter account tweeted, “LAST MINUTE INFORMATION: Due to a strike, the Eiffel Tower is closed since 4:00 pm (16h00).
Visitors with tickets, please check your mailbox for further information. We are truly sorry for the inconvenience.”

Twitter user Liza Thomas responded tweeting, “Ridiculous there was no available information regarding strike on your website earlier in the day. Such a disappointment…”

This strike isn’t the first one to close the Eiffel Tower. Numerous times over the years, the more than 300 employees who work there each day have stopped working for various reasons including maintenance issues and pickpockets.

There’s no word on how long the strike will last. Until it ends, there’s always the replica in Las Vegas or numerous others throughout the world.