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Eiffel Tower strike leaves tourists grounded

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Photo: AW Sheffield
11:44 CEST+02:00
Tourists in Paris faced a second day of frustration on Wednesday as the Eiffel Tower remained closed for a second day because of a strike by workers.

The top visitor attraction in Paris, the Eiffel Tower, was closed for a second day on Wednesday at the height of the tourist season due to a strike by workers for better work conditions and more pay.

The walk-out began on Tuesday after after failed last-minute talks between management and the influential CGT union on Monday which had lasted for seven hours.

The closure has left tourists grounded unable to climb the French capital's most famous monument.

"I wanted to go up there, take my wife in my arms and say 'Jackie, I love you', but it's OK, 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.

Negotiations have continued but some points remained unresolved, union officials said, adding that the structure could re-open for tourists later on Wednesday.

In a statement released on Tuesday the CGT explained their motives for the industrial action.

"The waiting lines are growing longer, the visitors are growing more and more impatient and the work conditions are deteriorating," a CGT statement said.

The tower normally opens at 9:00am (0700 GMT) and closes after midnight during the peak summer season that runs from June until September.

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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 (1,063-foot) structure attracts about seven million tourists every year.

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