Paris: Museums on strike?

Courtesy Meg Zimbeck

To the barricades! A labor strike threatens to shut down popular museums in the French capital.

Already, The Pompidou Center, which is the second-most-popular Paris museum after the Louvre, has been closed since November 23. Workers walked off to protest a government plan to reduce cultural spending.

This plan, part of President Nicolas Sarkozy's effort to make cultural institutions "more efficient," entails replacing only one out of every two retiring civil servants. The proposed initiative would affect institutions across the country, but the potential impact at the The Pompidou Center is more severe because more than 40 percent of its staff are already above the age of 50.

Beyond the modern art center, strikes are a real possibility at attractions across the country. Seven different unions are threatening to launch a major strike on December 2 if their demands are not met by the Ministry of Culture. In an interview with the AFP, one union leader warned that "all the major establishments are concerned," including the Louvre, Versailles, the Musée d'Orsay, Notre Dame, and Mont Saint-Michel.

We'll be watching the situation closely and updating readers about what is (and isn't) open.


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