A nine-day fortnight with an employer wage top-up is being negotiated for a textile company at Oamaru.
The scheme could save up to 57 jobs at Summit - the largest wool spinning company in New Zealand.
Employees at the company which supplies yarn for carpet and rug-makers, have already had their wages cut by a sixth.
The Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union says the wage top-up component is a critical part of the deal.
The EPMU says it hopes to have an agreement by the end of the month.
The nine day fortnight concept arose at a jobs summit held by the Government in February.