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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 September, 2004, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Strike closes Paris' Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower
The tower is one of the world's most popular tourist attractions
The Eiffel Tower in Paris has been closed to tourists because of strike action by staff.

Workers at the tower walked out to demand a meeting with the head of the private company which employs them.

They say they are worried about what will happen to their jobs when the company's contract to run the Eiffel Tower comes to an end next year.

Each year, six million people visit the tower, which is one of the world's most popular attractions.

The strike left several tourists disappointed.

"We made the trip for my daughter who was really looking forward to going to the top of the Eiffel Tower," Pablo Rodriguez from Spain told AFP news agency.

Another tourist, unaware of the strike, had got into a taxi to rush over to the monument.

"I really wanted to go up," Bill Sorrell, an American from Arkansas, told the Associated Press.

"What a waste. People back home had told me about its fantastic view."

Walkout

A concession agreement between SNTE (Societe nouvelle d'exploitation de la Tour Eiffel), the company which runs the tower, and the city of Paris, which owns the property and the structure, is due to run out in 2005.

Workers have asked for a meeting with SNTE president Jean-Bernard Bros, who is also the French capital's deputy mayor in charge of tourism.

The strike started because one employee received a warning over his job and fellow employees walked out in support on Tuesday, SNTE says.

"The law totally protects the tower's employees," Mr Bros said.

Mr Bross added he was willing to meet employees on condition they first resumed work.

The SNTE employs 250 people, and another 250 work in the monument's gift shops and restaurants.


SEE ALSO:
Eiffel Tower reopens after fire
23 Jul 03  |  Europe
Eiffel Tower glitters over Paris
21 Jun 03  |  Europe
Ticket 'scam' at Eiffel Tower
28 Feb 02  |  Business


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