Eiffel Tower closed at height of tourist season

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iol travel june 27 Eiffel Tower AP File photo: Tourists look the Eiffel Tower illuminated with the colours of the South African flag, to mark the launch of the South African Season 2013 in France. Eiffel Tower staff were refusing to work as they pressed demands for better working conditions and more pay.

Paris - The Eiffel Tower was closed for a second day at the height of the Paris tourist season as workers remained on strike on Wednesday, to the disappointment of tourists flocking to the site.

The monument was due to re-open on Thursday, but unable to scale its heights on Wednesday, visitors instead posed at the tower's base, snapping photographs of themselves standing beside “On Strike” posters.

Eiffel Tower staff were refusing to work as they pressed demands for better working conditions and more pay.

“I wanted to go up there, take my wife in my arms and say 'Jackie, I love you', but it's okay, there's so much to see in Paris,” said David, a Florida retiree on holiday in Paris with his new bride.

Trying to visit the tower for a second day running, Emily Knowles and Jeanie Weir, both 21-year-old Australian students, could hardly hide their disappointment.

“It was our big plan for the day,” they said, before deciding to wander along the Champs-Elysees instead.

The influential CGT union called the strike after failed last-minute talks on Monday, which lasted for seven hours.

Negotiations resumed Tuesday but some points remained unresolved, union officials said.

The tower's management said in a statement that it would re-open on Thursday at 9am (0700 GMT) after talks on Wednesday “resulted in the signature of an agreement to end the strike”.

The tower normally opens at 9am and closes after midnight during the peak summer season running from June until September.

The strike by the 300-odd workers is the first since a two-day shutdown in December 2010.

The CGT had also complained that one of the five lifts due to have been renovated following a decision taken in 2008 was still not ready, putting pressure on the employees.

The 324-metre structure attracts about seven million tourists every year. - Sapa-AFP

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