photograph courtesy of the Louvre
Guards at the Louvre in Paris are preparing to strike for a raise. The museum’s guards are arguing that the stresses of looking after Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) warrant higher pay.
According to an article in today’s 20 minutes, the guards blame their discontent on a surge of visitors to the Louvre that hasn’t been met with an increase in the number of guards. Attendance at the Louvre rose from 7,500,000 in 2005 to 8,300,000 in 2006, while the number of guards on duty has remained static at 180.
“What’s really bad is the brouhaha of the crowds, most of all in the most visited halls, including those of the La Gioconda, the Venus de Milo, and Michelangelo,” explained a guard in 20 minutes. “And the worst are the ‘free Sundays.’ 65,000 visitors a day, it’s unbearable and even dangerous.”
The guards, who are also apparently sick of yelling “No flash!” all day, are seeking an additional €150 a month to balance out the increased job stress.
Who’s smiling now?