French strikes cause railway chaos _ and challenge Macron

French strikes cause railway chaos _ and challenge Macron
A passenger crosses railroad tracks at rush hour at Gare de Lyon train station, in Paris, France, as union stage a mass strike, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. French unions plan strikes two days every week through June to protest government plans to eliminate some rail worker benefits — part of broader European plans to open national railways to competition. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

PARIS (AP) — A major French railway strike has brought the country’s famed high-speed trains to a halt, leaving passengers stranded and posing the biggest test so far for President Emmanuel Macron’s economic strategy.

The SNCF national rail authority says about 12 percent of trains are running Tuesday, in the first of a series of strikes set to last three months.

Passengers are packing platforms or hitching rides on traffic-clogged roads and sharing travel tips online.

Traffic is also disrupted on Eurostar lines to Britain and trains to Germany, though most trains are running as usual.

Rail workers are protesting government plans to eliminate worker protections. It’s part of Macron’s broader plans to make France more globally competitive.

Strikes and protest actions Tuesday are also hitting Air France flights, garbage collection and universities.