AZUZ: From the Middle East, we're taking you to the European country of France, where a strike is causing severe disruptions in the nation's train services. France's state-owned rail company says about 87 percent of its high speed trains and 80 percent of its regional rail services were cancelled Tuesday. There were no trains operating to Switzerland, Spain or Italy.
This is a rolling strike. Workers plan to walk out two days a time for a total of 18 walkouts before the end of June. They're protesting changes to the country's labor laws that were proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Making changes was one of his campaign promises. But while many French business leaders and economists support his plans, many unions oppose them.
France's rail company is $56 billion in debt, according to the "Reuters" news agency. President Macron wants to turn it into a profit-making business. But employees are concerned that if that happens, they could lose job security, annual pay raises and the right to early retirement.
And union bosses say that making France's railways more competitive could mean higher ticket prices.
In previous standoffs between unions and French presidents, the unions have prevailed.
SUBTITLE: French rail workers have kicked off a three-month long strike.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Every time there's a strike here, I got the impression that people around the world are saying, why don't the French just stop whining and get on with the work?
Reforming the economy here closely follows Newton's first law of motion, inertia. At the root of it, I think the French are very conservative in the classic sense. They view change with suspicion at best and hostility at worst.
And there's the concept of Droits Acquis, acquired rights. It's a concept that is deeply ingrained in French society. It's the feeling that rights once acquired should never ever be abandoned.
Despite appearances to the contrary, French unions by the members are not all that strong.
SUBTITLE: Only around 11 percent of French workers are unionized. That's roughly the same as the U.S.
BITTERMANN: The difference between France and other countries, though, is that unionized workers are found in very critical areas, transportation, energy production and the like. If they decide to go on strike, it can cause a lot of pain very quickly.
BITTERMANN: There are dozens of other attitudes which can be changed from the longstanding mistrust between employers and employees, through the traditional belief that every gain for the boss is a loss for the workers. In fact, it's a kind of thing that rightly or wrongly can leave the impression that France is a difficult place to do business.
这是一场持续罢工 。工人计划每次罢工两天，在6月底前一共罢工36天 。他们抗议的是法国总统埃马纽埃尔·马克龙提出的劳工法改革计划 。
改革是马克龙在竞选总统时许下的承诺之一 。虽然许多法国商界领袖和经济学家支持他的计划，但是许多工会却反对这些计划 。
据路透社报道，法国铁路公司目前负债560亿美元 。马克龙总统希望该公司成为盈利企业 。但是员工担心这样他们会失去工作保障、年度加薪和提前退休的权利 。
法国的经济改革严格遵循牛顿第一运动定律——惯性定律 。从根本上说，我认为法国人从传统意义上来讲非常保守 。往好了说，法国人对改革持怀疑态度，往坏了说，法国人反对改革 。
再来看既得权利这个概念 。这个概念深深地植根于法国社会 。法国人认为，权利一旦获得就永远不该被放弃 。
比特曼：而法国和其他国家的区别是，加入工会的工人都在非常关键的领域工作，比如交通、能源生产等等 。如果他们决定进行罢工，那会很快引发很多麻烦 。
比特曼：就雇主和雇员之间长期存在的不信任来说，还有其他数十种态度可以改变，比如传统观念认为老板的每分收获对员工来说就是损失 。实际上，无论对错，这种情况给外界留下的印象是：法国是很难做生意的地方 。
1. walk out 罢工；
例句：Nationwide industrial action began earlier this week, when staff at most banks walked out.
2. in debt 欠债；
例句：He was a congenital liar and usually in debt.
3. get on with 继续做；开始做；
例句：Jane got on with her work.
4. and the like 等等；以及诸如此类；
例句：Many students are also keeping fit through jogging, aerobics, weight training, and the like.