Trucks line up in western France. Photo: AFP
Roads were blocked nationwide, with traffic backed up in Paris, Marseille, Bordeaux, Lyon, Metz and Lille.
Reports estimated that there were over 350 kilometres of traffic jams in greater Paris at 9am on Monday and 720 kilometres in the entire country.
Trade unions are demanding driver salaries to be increased to €10 an hour, with an additional one month's bonus.
"The aim is not to disturb the population but for employers to react,” Pascal Goument of the union Confédération française des travailleurs chrétienstrade (CFTC), said in a statement.
Employers are only offering to increase salaries from 1 to 2 percent.
Henri Guaino of the right wing UMP party added that French drivers were facing "unfair" competition from Eastern European truck drivers.
The traffic situation is on the improve, however, with only 30 kilometres of traffic jams reported at 11am.
The strike could continue until Tuesday while annual negotiations are scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Thursday.