Article published on the 2009-11-27 Latest update 2009-11-27 15:53 TU
Currrently closed due to strike action - the Pompidou Centre in Paris
(Photo: Katsuhisa Kida/ Richard Rogers Partnership)
The giant modern art centre has been closed since Monday when workers walked out over President Nicolas Sarkozy's budget-cutting plans.
Talks with aides to Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand have failed to end the dispute and now unions are calling on other ministry employees to join the strike on 2 December. Mass meetings in workplaces will vote on whether to take part.
That means that museums, art galleries and historical monuments, which attract millions of tourists every year, are likely to close their doors ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Sarkozy's government aims to trim the state's budget deficit by reducing culture budget subsidies and staffing. The plan would mean not replacing one out of two civil servants when they retire.
Staff fear that 400 of the 1,100 jobs at the Pompidou Centre will eventually go because 44 per cent of its personnel are over 50. Next year they expect 26 jobs to go, followed by 23 in 2011.
Last year 5.5 million people visited the centre, while 8.5 million visited the Louvre museum.