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EIFFEL TOWER

Eiffel Tower closed: workers strike over ‘botched’ paint job plan

Workers at the Eiffel Tower concerned over an upcoming paint job at the famous landmark went on strike on Tuesday, the third stoppage at the monument in six months.

Eiffel Tower closed: workers strike over 'botched' paint job plan
Members of the CGT union in an earlier strike. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP
Unions representing the 300 workers said they called the strike over the “deliberate absence of transparency” on key decisions relating to the functioning of the tower.
 
A spokesman for the hard-left CGT union Denis Vavassori said employees were particularly worried about a paint stripping operation planned ahead of a new paint job in 2017.
 
“The monument is in an obvious state of disrepair,” he said, warning of the “health risks” to staff from what he called a “botched” operation.
 
The strike left crowds of disappointed visitors who had to make do with admiring the the 324-metre (1,063-foot) tower from the ground.
 
The tower's operator SETE confirmed the latest closure was caused by a labour dispute.
 
“Discussions are taking place between management and workers' representatives,” SETE said, adding it regretted the inconvenience to visitors.
 
The dispute is the third in six months at the venerable “Iron Lady”, with staff having already walked off the job twice in June, during the Euro football championship hosted by France.
 
Those strikes were in protest over controversial labour reforms pushed through parliament by the Socialist government.
 
Almost seven million people bought tickets to the Eiffel Tower in 2015, 80 percent of them coming from abroad to clamber up its lattice frame.
 
In winter, it receives around 6,000 visitors daily.

STRIKES

French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.

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