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Eiffel Tower Closed by Strike for 4th Day

Eiffel Tower Closed by Strike for 4th Day

Anthony Aranda, a 23-year-old tourist from Peru, had only two days to visit Paris with his cousin, so getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower featured prominently on his to-do list. But on Thursday, he had to cross it off that list without even stepping foot on the famed Iron Lady.

A labor strike, now in its fourth day, was keeping the tower closed.

“We are traveling to London next, so this was our last chance,” Mr. Aranda said in the drizzling rain as he looked up at the wrought-iron monument. “That was the idea, at least.”

Mr. Aranda, who is studying electronic engineering in Spain, said he would get over the disappointment.

But in Paris, just months before the city is to host the Summer Olympics and Paralympics, there are worries that the strike could turn into a protracted and highly visible labor dispute at one of the French capital’s most visited monuments. The site is so symbolic, in fact, that medals created for the Games will be encrusted with iron from the tower itself.

“It’s the image of France,” Olivia Grégoire, France’s minister in charge of tourism, told Sud Radio.

Unions representing the strikers say that financial mismanagement at the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, or SETE, the company that operates the monument, is jeopardizing essential renovation work. The unionized workers have threatened to continue their walkout as long as necessary.

The tower operator rejected the allegations.

“The years 2020 to 2023, from Covid to its lasting consequences, were difficult for the Eiffel Tower and its employees, and have left concerns for the future,” Jean-François Martins, the president of the SETE, acknowledged in a statement.

The company lost 130 million euros, about $140 million, of revenue during the pandemic. In 2021, the city even injected 60 million euros to keep it afloat.

But Mr. Martins said that a new financial plan, including a fresh 145 million euros in investment, would keep the Eiffel Tower in shape over the next few years. The new plan, he said, “will provide lasting protection for the monument, its employees and SETE until 2031.”

The plan, which still needs to be approved by the Paris City Council in the coming months, would pay for much of that investment with a 20 percent increase in standard ticket prices, the statement said. Adults currently pay nearly $32 to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower by elevator, although visitors who brave the stairs pay less.

Paris City Hall also rejected accusations…

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