Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mona Lisa’s smile = demand for staff bonus?

Is it my imagination or is it the time of year for industrial action. Given the temperature outside, it seems foolhardy to consider anything that would involve standing in the cold holding placards.

In the last few weeks we’ve had announcements from British Airways, BBC, nurses, blood transfusion workers, the Civil Service and Aer Lingus.

But French workers have that je ne sais quoi when it comes to protesting. But the reasons behind the strike action by some of the Louvre’s staff may still be quite surprising. According to a BBC news article, attendants are “demanding a bonus for the stress of looking after the Mona Lisa and other popular masterpieces”.

They’re finding thay have less and less time to talk about the famous paintings, and spend their time maintaining the museum’s no-photo policy and keeping the crowds moving past the artworks.

A Louvre attendant who did not want to be named commented (most likely in a French accent):

“The stress is clearly linked to the number of visitors ... what’s unbearable is the constant hubbub of the crowd, especially in the really popular rooms like the one with the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo ... On Sundays, when the museum is free, it is even worse. There can be 65,000 visitors on one day. It’s unbearable and even sometimes dangerous.”

If this kind of action spread to Northern Ireland ...

  • bus and train drivers will be demanding bonuses to help them cope with the steady rise of passenger numbers on Translink’s services;
  • the new red-coated Traffic Attendants will be wanting compensation for the writers cramp they must suffer now that they are free to give out all those extra tickets to the cars abandoned on our streets.

Suggestions of other poor downtrodden bonus-deserving professions welcomed via the comments link below!

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