France's second-largest port Le Havre was crippled Tuesday as all 2,400 dock workers went on strike to demand job security.
Union sources said a majority of the estimated 1,200 shipping agents also stopped work at the country's second terminal container port after Marseille but said passenger services to Britain were unaffected.
Protest marches on job security, called by the influential CGT union, were planned later Tuesday in Paris and seven other French cities.
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday slashed its global growth forecast and said France would record only 0.1 percent GDP growth in 2012, against 0.3 percent forecast in July.
It said the projected figure for next year was 0.4 percent -- or half of that forecast earlier.
French unions fear that the Socialist government's efforts to plug a 37-billion-euro ($48 billion) hole in public finances will lead to more job cuts.
CGT boss Bernard Thibault said: "We are not naive, the employers are on the offensive. There is pressure on the government to get measures that are favourable for employers and in this situation wage earners cannot remain on the sidelines."
French unemployment recently breached the three-million mark and crossed 10 percent.
© 2012 AFP
Although hard to imagine, the shortage in the skilled and highly-educated workforces is expected to grow in the coming years. Expatica therefore introduces the International Job Fair, the event for pursuing an international career in the Netherlands.
Meet the most eligible internationals in France at Expatica Date!
Join Expatica's online community to reach out for expats just like you!
This handy guide from Expertise in Labour Mobility includes information on business hierarchy, negotiations, and etiquette.
A listing of organizations in the Paris area that cater primarily to Americans living in France. Updated April 2011.
Our handy guide to the British community in Paris, from cricket clubs to Scottish country dancing lessons to where to find a jar of Marmite.
Here's a short introduction to our Banking section for those living in France, from how to open a bank account to Islamic banking and investments.