French strikers shut down Pompidou Centre

Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:32pm EST
 
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PARIS (Reuters Life!) - The Pompidou Center in Paris has been closed since Monday because of a strike by workers angered by proposed job cuts at one of the most visited attractions in France, an official said on Thursday.

Unions have warned that the strike could spread to other museums from the modern art center in the heart of the French capital unless the government drops plans to replace only one out of every two retiring workers in the years ahead.

Unions at the Pompidou, which houses a permanent modern art collection, say that 400 jobs will be shed over the next 10 years unless the government has a change of heart.

"These job losses will lead to fewer projects at the Pompidou Center," CFDT trade union member Eric Daire was quoted as saying in French daily Le Monde.

Around 40 percent of the staff at the Pompidou Center are more than 50 years old and many of them are coming up to retirement age. Some of them have been working there since the distinctive museum opened in 1977.

Workers were due to decide later on Thursday whether to continue their strike.

"We are simply spectators and are waiting for the result," said one spokesman for the Center, who declined to be named. (Reporting by Sophie Taylor, editing by Paul Casciato)