France Museums Reopen After Strike

The New York Times is reporting that museums in France, including the Musée d’Orsay and the Palace of Versailles, were open as of Sunday after a four-day strike that disrupted about a dozen institutions and tourist sites. The strike began two weeks ago at the Pompidou Center, which remained closed on Sunday for a 13th day, and was called in response to a government plan to reduce the large state work force by replacing only one of every two workers who retire. The unions said this policy would devastate the Pompidou Center because 44 percent of its work force is due to retire in the next decade. On Friday two-thirds of the Louvre reopened, while the Musée d’Orsay went back into business on Sunday.

Unions are reportedly protesting the government’s plans to replace only one out of every two retiring civil servants, which they say will cripple French museums. The non-replacement plan, designed to shrink the state payroll and cut the budget deficit, was a campaign pledge of President Nicolas Sarkozy in his 2007 election. After first being applied to government ministries, it is now being extended to organizations owned by the state, such as museums.