PARIS — French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says the government won’t back down in the face of rail strikes that are crippling travel in France.

Philippe said in an interview published by French newspaper Le Parisien as a new round of strikes began Sunday that he receives daily messages from supporters telling him to go the whole way “and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Unions are planning periodic two-day strikes through June to try to counter the French government’s plans to abolish a benefits system that allows train drivers and other workers to have jobs for life.

Officials say one in five high-speed trains, one in three suburban trains and three of four trains with international service are expected to be operating on Monday.

Periodic strikes also are hitting Air France.