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Restaurant Workers Join Euro Strike

June 30, 1998

MARNE-LA-VALLEE, France (AP) _ Restaurant workers at Disneyland Paris joined striking technicians and parade performers today to demand higher wages.

Dozens of strikers with banners gathered at the entrance of Europe’s Magic Kingdom, 18 miles east of the French capital, on the sixth day of a walkout that began with most parade performers. The strike was hitting the theme park during its main summer tourist season.

Sound and light technicians joined the walkout Monday, and restaurant workers began walking out today, but it was not clear what percentage of the work force was affected. The park said the daily parade continued as scheduled.

``We have miserable salaries,″ said Michel Balliwech, a local union organizer for the General Labor Confederation.

The CGT was demanding a minimum $1,400 monthly salary or a 7 percent increase. Balliwech, who prints park tickets, said he earns $1,200 per month after seven years on the job.

``A 7 percent raise is impossible. There’s already been an 8 percent raise over three years,″ said Disneyland spokesman Michel Dompnier.

Dompnier said the park has negotiated daily with the strikers, who he claimed did not want to be represented by the unions. ``We are talking with employee representatives.″

The park spokesman said Disneyland was offering more training and higher-paying stage or technical positions to qualifying employees.

``What’s important is that there’s been no break in the talks. And the parade continues,″ Dompnier said.

Park officials said some performers had already returned to work.

Euro Disney, a holding company 39 percent owned by the Burbank, Calif.-based Walt Disney Co., opened the park’s in April 1992. It has reported an annual profit since 1995, in part by imposing tougher cost controls that have triggered occasional strikes.

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