The unions accuse President Macron, a centrist ex-investment banker, of seeking to "destroy the public railways through pure ideological dogmatism", and are concerned that plans to turn the SNCF into a publicly listed company, even with the state owning 100 percent of shares, could eventually lead to the rail operator being privatized - something the government denies.
In stations like the Gare du Nord and the Gare de Lyon there were persons who fell on the railways, fainted and other emergency situations caused by crowds. The strikes of 1995 paralyzed France and forced prime minister Alain Juppe to pull the reforms - a defeat which ultimately prompted Juppe to quit.
French President Emmanuel Macron is facing his largest domestic challenge yet to the raft of reforms he's been working to implement since he took office in 2017.
"This government has had an easy time so far, but this is a real political battle." former transport ministers Dominique Bussereau, who supports the government reforms, said on France2 television.
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The last French president to square off against rail unions over workers' benefits came off worst. The government believes it is acting with a mandate for change, but the unions have always succeeded in making the government back down.
"I want to be very clear. the strike action will no doubt be widely adhered to and is going to make the lives of a lot of people very hard", SNCF boss Guillaume Pepy said in a radio interview, as quoted by Reuters.
Rail workers are protesting plans to eliminate a special status that they've enjoyed for decades.
"This little melody being sung of "privileged railway workers" is intolerable", Martinez said. "The salaries aren't unbelievable, the work conditions are hard, and for some it means working every other weekend", Mr Martinez said.
Meanwhile, SNCF is warning passengers that services could be severely disrupted during strike action and advises travellers to seek other modes of transportation where possible.
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In an IFOP poll published Sunday in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, 53% of the almost 1,000 people surveyed said the strike was unjustified.
The company says one in three trains between France and Germany and 75 per cent of Eurostar trains between Paris and London will be operating.
Mr Macron wants to transform the SNCF into a profit-maker. Many of his plans, particularly in the labor market, are meeting with increasing opposition from France's unions.
The strike's impact immediately was visible on Tuesday.Passengers hitched rides on traffic-clogged roads and shared travel tips online.
The CGT has called for public and private sector workers nationwide to strike on April 19, but in a sign of union division, private sector unions have so far declined.
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You know, he's coming into this match winning so many matches. "What I am doing seems to be normal, but it's not a little thing". Isner finished with 39 winners to Del Potro's 10, and in forehands only that difference was an astonishing 19-2.