Eiffel Tower in Paris set to reopen after six-day strike

The Eiffel Tower in Paris was expected to reopen to visitors on Sunday after six days of closure due to strikes.

Workers first walked out on Monday in a dispute over the way the tower was managed.

Its operator, Société d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE), said a deal was reached with unions on Saturday.

It is the second such strike at the iconic landmark in the last three months, as Paris looks ahead to hosting the 2024 Olympic Games this summer.

SETE apologised to ticket holders and said they would be reimbursed for bookings impacted by the action, which resulted in the loss of some 100,000 admissions.

The powerful Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) union said that staff had decided to strike over SETE's business model, which it claimed was based on an inflated estimate of future visitor numbers, and an underestimation of the cost of maintenance and renovation.

Stéphane Dieu, speaking on behalf of the union, accused SETE of seeking profitability in the short term.

Strikers have also expressed concern over the state of the monument, which Le Monde reported had not been repainted for 14 years, rather than the usual seven, with other repair work falling behind schedule.

This week's strike was first planned to take place across five days, but CGT on Friday announced that staff had voted to extend the strike to Saturday after rejecting SETE's initial proposal.

On Saturday, SETE said it reached an agreement with the unions "under which the parties will regularly monitor the company's business model, investment in works and revenue through a body that will meet every six months".

With an aim to balance its books by 2025, it added that both sides also agreed to see an investment of some €380m (£325m) to 2031 toward works and maintenance of the landmark.

On Thursday, French Culture Minister Rachida Dati suggested the Eiffel Tower be classified as a "historical monument" to allow the state to help fund works if needed.

The Eiffel Tower last closed on 27 December as workers launched a protest - again over its management - to mark the centenary of the death of the tower's creator, Gustave Eiffel.

Eiffel, a civil engineer, made his name building bridges and viaducts for the French railway network. However, he was best known for the tower, which was designed to show off France's modern industrial prowess on a world stage, as the centrepiece of the 1889 Paris Exposition, or world's fair.

Built in little more than two years, it was at the time the tallest building in the world and soon became a defining image of the French capital.

Source: BBC

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