The Eiffel Tower will reopen Friday morning at 9am local time, officials said late Thursday, after the iconic tourist attraction turned away visitors for a second day while workers continued a strike over long queues.
The iconic monument has been closed since Wednesday afternoon as unions argued with management over the lopsided lines stemming from a decision to reserve certain elevators for visitors with pre-booked tickets while those who buy them upon arrival languish in long queues.
Workers say the changes have resulted in uneven lines, some of which can extend to three hours for those waiting to buy tickets. Even internet customers who are supposed to have reserved time slots can wait for up to an hour.
The tower now also sets aside half of all daily tickets for internet customers, up from just 20 percent previously.
Staff want more flexibility in managing the thousands who arrive each day hoping to reach the top of the "Iron Lady" during the peak summer tourist season.
The tower's operator insists that lines haven't gotten any worse than before, even as visitor numbers have risen to more than 6.2 million tickets sold last year.
Many of the tourists showing up Thursday morning had no idea that the strike had halted visits, with signs saying only that the monument was closed.
"I'm annoyed, I'm not going to lie," said Robin Frye of Birmingham, England, who was visiting Paris for the first time.
"It's going to throw off our whole trip if I'm honest," she said.
"We got up at 6am and were among the first people here, but it's closed," said Adele Liliane, who arrived this week from Montreal, Canada.
Negotiations resumed Thursday after workers held a general assembly in the morning to discuss 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.
"It offers its apologies to everyone – Parisians and French as well as foreign tourists."
The tower's 300-strong staff has staged strikes repeatedly in recent years over issues including pickpocketing and maintenance work.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2018-08-02