French government fights with union to keep touristy museums open longer

PARIS – If the Socialist government gets its way, visitors to France’s three most touristic museums – the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay and Versailles Palace – may get to visit seven days a week in coming years.

But a powerful labour union could get in the way.

As part of the government’s 2015 budget bill, the Culture Ministry announced this week it plans to give the museums the “necessary means” to open every day – as long as work and conservation conditions are respected. Versailles and Orsay are closed Mondays, while the Louvre is shut on Tuesdays.

Christian Galani of the CGT labour union, which represents most workers at the museums, said Thursday it opposes the idea. He said it would ultimately hurt maintenance, raise overtime work costs and force room closings.