BY Frieze News Desk in News | 29 MAY 19

Louvre Workers Strike Over Growing Visitor Numbers and Dwindling Staff

Thousands of tourists were left queuing after the museum was closed on Monday

BY Frieze News Desk in News | 29 MAY 19

Louvre Museum, Paris, 2018. Courtesy: NakNakNak and Pixabay

The Louvre, Paris was forced to close on Monday after security staff went on strike to protest against the museum’s management of the increase in visitor numbers to the popular tourist destination. Thousands of people waiting in lines outside of the museum were turned away on Monday morning. On Wednesday, the museum reopened later than usual (the museum is always closed on Tuesdays) and only admitted visitors with pre-booked time-slot tickets.  

More than ten million people visited the Louvre last year, an increase of 20% in the last decade, however, in contrast, staff numbers have shrunk in the same time period, according to the Sud Culture Solidaires union. A letter from the union said that staff ‘refuse the transformation [of the Louvre] into a cultural Disneyland.’

The union are demanding that additional staff are hired to deal with the increase in visitors, as well as a new cap on people entering the museum.

While management at the Louvre has implemented policies to try and address these issues, such as cutting free entry days down from each Sunday to one a month, the union claims that this does not go far enough. In the letter, the union blames the pressure on visitor services on the shrinking staff numbers. The authors of the letter cite figures including a 7.23% decrease in general staff  and 17.95% decrease in security and surveillance employees.

On Wednesday morning an agreement was reached between the union and the museum. ‘The management suggested a series of measures to the employees yesterday, which they discussed during a lively general meeting this morning,’ said Christian Galani, the CGT-Culture National Secretary. The employees will now try out new measures, including a mandatory reservation system and 30 additional staff will be hired to deal with the increase in pressure on the team.

A spokesperson for the museum said that visitors may obtain refunds for tickets booked on 27 May. In the next few days only visitors with booked tickets will be guaranteed entry.