After being closed for two days due to an employee strike, the Eiffel Tower will reopen Friday morning. The iconic landmark shut down on August 1st when the 300 workers grew increasingly discontent with a new set of rules regarding the purchasing of tickets.
In early July, management for the Tower increased the number of tickets available for preorder online from 20 to 50 percent of all tickets. Those who book in advance enter a shorter line and have access to a different elevator at the 1,063-foot monument, considerably diminishing their wait time. More than 7 million people visit the Eiffel Tower every year. However, during off peak hours, the pre-booked line can be half as long while the traditional line takes up to three hours. Even in these periods, those who do not purchase a ticket in advance cannot utilize the shorter line. Employees took to a strike over the perceived lack of organization. (This is not the first time Tower employees went on strike. Back in 2013, they took issue with the working conditions and in 2015 they protested over the number of pickpockets near the landmark.)
Paris-based news website France 24 titled their article on the event “The Frenchest story ever?” The 129-year-old Eiffel Tower has long been a symbol of French pride, and the liberty they cherish. But now it is rearing its ugly head and displaying the more negative sides of pride, bordering on arrogance.
The French are reserved, possibly driven by mistrust for others or a perceived superiority complex. Either way it is no secret the French like to do things their own way. So it should come as no surprise that the employees at the Eiffel Tower would want to do things their own way. They do not need an unnecessary level of stress in their jobs, especially during a period in which most French have gone off on vacation (the French holiday period begins August 1st and can last up to five weeks). This is the same mentality that led Tower management to create such a dysfunctional system in the first place, leaving their employees to deal with the insatiable tourists while they are away.