The French government has agreed to take on 35 billion euros ($40.8 billion) in debt from the national railway company SNCF as it seeks to end months-long rolling strikes.

French Prime minister Edouard Philippe met Friday with unions to discuss amendments to a rail bill preparing SNCF to open up to competition.

As SNCF's total debts amount to 50 billion euros ($58 billion), the government's decision meets unions' demands.

Laurent Brun of the hard-left CGT union promised to "continue the combat" to negotiate other guarantees.

The bill, already voted by the lower house of parliament, will go to the Senate next week.

Rail workers are on rolling strikes through June to protest against the government's plans, which would revoke SNCF employees' special right to retain jobs and benefits for life.