(CTN News) – The iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris was temporarily closed to the public on Wednesday, as a result of a strike initiated by the staff, according to France’s influential CGT union. The employees were expressing their discontent with the management of the famous landmark.
The timing of the strike was not coincidental, as it fell on the 27th of December, marking the centenary of the death of Gustave Eiffel, the visionary French engineer and entrepreneur who designed the tower.
Gustave Eiffel passed away on this day in 1923, leaving behind a lasting legacy in the form of the Eiffel Tower.
Constructed in 1889, the Eiffel Tower, often referred to as the “Iron Lady,” continues to be a major global tourist attraction. Last year alone, it drew in 5.85 million visitors, with 7% of them hailing from the United Kingdom.
The management company of the Eiffel Tower, known as SETE, issued an apology for the inconvenience caused by the strike.
SETE attributed the closure to a portion of its staff, emphasizing that the esplanade surrounding the iconic structure remained open during the protest. Visitors holding electronic tickets were advised to check their email for further instructions.
This unexpected closure highlighted the symbolic significance of the date, serving as a moment of reflection on the remarkable contributions of Gustave Eiffel, whose creation continues to captivate millions of visitors from around the world.
Labor Dispute at Eiffel Tower as CGT Union Strikes Against SETE Management
The hard-left CGT union articulated their decision to stage a strike at the Eiffel Tower, asserting that the management by SETE was careening towards disaster.
They criticized the economic model as “over-ambitious and untenable,” accusing it of underestimating both the annual number of visitors and the associated costs of maintenance and renovation.
Despite the labor dispute, plans for the closure of the top floor of the Eiffel Tower next month for its annual makeover are still scheduled to proceed, lasting several weeks.
However, the strike did not dampen the enthusiasm of those eager to commemorate the iconic monument and the centenary of its creator’s death.
To celebrate Gustave Eiffel’s enduring legacy, a sound and light concert was broadcast on TV and social media from the first floor of the Tower on Wednesday night.
French President Emmanuel Macron paid homage to the esteemed engineer in a post on the social media platform X, emphasizing that “100 years since Gustave Eiffel left us. But his legacy to the world is very much alive!”
Gustave Eiffel, originally a civil engineer, gained renown for his work on bridges and viaducts for the French railway network, as well as his contribution to the construction of the Statue of Liberty.
However, he became most renowned for the Eiffel Tower, a structure designed to showcase France’s modern industrial prowess on the global stage during the 1889 Paris Exposition, also known as the world’s fair.
Constructed in just over two years, the tower claimed the title of the world’s tallest building at the time and swiftly became an iconic symbol of the French capital.