PARIS, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Millions of French commuters were affected on Wednesday as train traffic has been heavily disrupted during the second day of the rolling strikes staged by French rail workers against a planned reform of the state-run SNCF railway operator.
The SNCF said only one in seven of the high-speed trains would run and half of scheduled regional trains would be affected by the movement on Wednesday.
In Ile-de-France region, one train out of four would operate after nearly 30 percent of the operator's staff stopped working and 74 percent of its drivers joined the second day of the strike.
Wednesday's turnout was down from 33.9 percent and 77 percent respectively.
"To strike and create the embarrassment for users, this is not our objective. Our target is to get out of the conflict, start negotiating and find real solutions," Roger Dillenseger, secretary general of UNSA-Ferroviaire told local broadcaster Europe1.
On Monday evening, the country's unions started a series of month-rolling nationwide rail strikes with a wave of two successive days out of every five days.
They planned 36 days of action for April-June period, a move that may paralyze the eurozone's second economic power and one of the world's top tourism destinations.
They are pressuring President Emmanuel Macron to reconsider his reform plan on the railway sector that targets to liberalize rail passenger services and impose new rules of recruitment for "a more efficient and unified" rail operator.
Besides, it proposed to scrap preferential terms of rail workers, including retirement on full pension at 52, a decade earlier than other French employees.
Despite the showdown from the rail workers, the government has so far stood firm to press through the reform that previous governments failed to complete.
"The mobilizations must not prevent the profound transformation of the country for which we have been elected," said Benjamin Grivaux, the government's spokesman.
"We will continue to act in listening, with calm and determination," he added.
A recent ifop survey showed that 53 percent of respondents considered the rail strike unjustified. A majority that Macron's government hopes to be able to exploit to its advantage by gaining support of millions of commuters.
"I respect the strikers because the right to strike is guaranteed by the constitution ... But if the strikers are to be respected, the millions of French people who want to go to work because they have no choice, because they want to go to work, must also be respected," Prime Minister Edourad Philippe told the National Assembly on Tuesday.