France

Strike closes Mont Saint Michel as Tour de France visits

Tony Martin at the Mont Saint Michel on Wednesday
Tony Martin at the Mont Saint Michel on Wednesday REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

The Tour de France was greeted by a strike when it visited the Mont Saint Michel on Wednesday. The popular French tourist site has been closed has been closed by industrial action over carparks and transport costs since Monday.

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The cycle race passed by the island off the Normandy coast for the second time in its history this year but anyone hoping to combine a sight of the cyclists with a visit to the

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historic abbey perched on its peak would have been disappointed.

It had been closed by the strike since Monday.

Workers, who have been taking limited industrial action for over a month, hoped that a walkout this week would publicise their case.

They are angry at the scrapping of special coaches transporting them to the island over a causeway that is covered by seawater at high tide and by a hike in carpark charges from 8.50 euros to 12.0 euros on 3 June.

Union representatives claim it takes some employees an hour to gat to their place of work from the bus pick-up point.

The changes come as part of a 200-million-euro programme of works on the site started in 2006.

Traders and local people have organised a support group for the strike, claiming that the charges and the 400-metre walk to the site are discouraging visitors.

Management says that only a minority of employees are involved in the industrial action and that it is having a limited effect.

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