Visitors miss out as strike shuts iconic Paris landmark

Workers say facilities are not enough to cope with the daily influx of tourists to the Eiffel Tower. Photo / AP
Workers say facilities are not enough to cope with the daily influx of tourists to the Eiffel Tower. Photo / AP

The Eiffel Tower's lifts have ground to a halt as an industrial dispute over security and working conditions brought workers at the Paris monument out on strike.

Thousands of visitors hoping for views of the city's skyline were left grounded as many of the tower's 300 staff walked out over late-running maintenance work and pay disputes.

Union representatives said they had been complaining about mismanagement of repairs to the 324m wrought iron structure for years.

Renovation of the west lift was projected to last 18 months when work began in 2008 but the project remains unfinished and employees say facilities are insufficient for the daily flood of up to 30,000 visitors.

"It took them two years to build [the Eiffel Tower], and now it's taking more than five years for one lift," said one disgruntled employee, who declined to be quoted by name.

Staff say overcrowding poses a risk to security and undermines their working conditions. Visitors were unhappy they had not been warned.

"It's disappointing spending this much money to come here and you can't come to the one landmark people probably come here to see most," US tourist Jamie McNulty said.

Built in 1889, the tower was meant to last 20 years but is now a symbol of the city.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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