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Strike Closes Eiffel Tower

October 31, 1998

PARIS (AP) _ Tourists hoping to peer at Paris on Saturday from atop the Eiffel Tower were grounded after workers went on strike to demand more staff.

``The Eiffel Tower is closed. Strike,″ read large blue panels in French and English. The strike began late Friday and is expected to last until at least Monday.

Eiffel Tower management has announced plans to recruit 25 new staff, but workers are demanding 32. The new jobs are part of a nationwide plan to shorten the workweek to 35 hours to spread jobs around and reduce double-digit unemployment.

Management officials said Saturday they would not give in to the strikers, calling them ``hostage takers.″

``The strikers refused this morning to accept our proposal for talks,″ said Eiffel Tower official Hugues de Bailliencourt. ``For us, there’s no question of ceding to blackmail.″

Between 15,000 and 20,000 tourists visit the Eiffel Tower daily, making it one of the most popular destinations in the world.

The company is expected to lose around $417,000 over the weekend due to the strike.

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