Tue Dec 13, 2016 02:36PM
The file photo shows Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
The file photo shows Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

Workers at France's Eiffel Tower have gone on strike for the third time this year, forcing the world-famous monument to close down to visitors.

A union representing the 300 workers of the complex said on Tuesday that the walkout was in protest against inconsistencies in decisions made by authorities.

Denis Vavassori, a spokesman for hard-left CGT union, said employees were particularly worried about a paint stripping operation planned ahead of a new paint job in 2017.

He said Eiffel Tower was "in an obvious state of disrepair," warning that the "botched" operation could have serious "health risks" for the staff.

Crowds of visitors, many of them foreigners, were stranded outside and had to disappointedly admire the 324-meter tower from the ground.

The main operator of the tower confirmed that the closure was related to the strike, regretting the inconvenience to visitors. It said the tower's management company and representatives of workers were holding discussions to resolve differences.

The walkout is the third in less than six months affecting the tower. Workers staged two strikes in June, when France was hosting the Euro 2016 football championship. Those actions, however, were in line with broader strikes and protests in France against the government’s controversial plans for implementing labor reforms.

Eiffel hosts about 6,000 visitors a day during the winter season. The lattice structure, which is known to many as the Iron Lady, saw some seven million people booking tickets in 2015, of which 80 percent were foreigners.