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French Rail Workers Launch Strike

Rail workers talk to colleagues outside the Saint Charles station in Marseille, southern France, April 3, 2018.

French railway workers went on strike Tuesday in the first of a series of planned work stoppages in protest of the government's plans to institute reforms to the system.

Only a fraction of trains were running across the country, leaving platforms packed with people and roads clogged with commuters who normally rely on rail travel instead.

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to strip away job guarantees and other benefits for new hires for the railway system.

The government says the reforms are necessary to keep the services economically competitive and in line with European Union rules.

The main rail unions plan to strike two days out of every five for the next three months.