A strike at the SLN nickel plant in New Caledonia has begun to hit production as the company is incurring monthly losses in excess of $US22 million.
70 of a union's 120 members have been on strike since Monday, forcing SLN to lower the output of its furnaces as it struggles to improve its output to survive.
The union has accused SLN of a lack of transparency in its performance plans and it has demanded the reinstatement of six workers being sacked for serious misbehaviour.
SLN has been run at a loss for the past of five years amid a global slump of the nickel price, with the deficit last year alone amounting to $US160 million.
Last year, the French state provided a $US230 million loan to supplement an advance by SLN's parent company Eramet of $US370 million.