The Meatworkers Union says there's been a reprieve for workers at AFFCO's lamb and mutton plant in Wairoa.
An area organiser, Eric Mischefski, says last week the company told day-shift workers that unless they were prepared to work harder for no more money, their season would finish on Monday.
That, he says, could have meant a layoff for more than 200 workers of five months, instead of five to eight weeks.
But AFFCO management has now changed its mind and will keep one chain open, which will provide about 100 people with work.
Mr Mischefski says the company may have been simply trying to intimidate the workers.
He says he's still concerned that AFFCO is dealing directly with workers rather than negotiating through the union, which it's supposed to do as part of the employment agreement.
AFFCO will not comment on any aspects of what it calls internal matters at the plant. General manager Rowan Ogg said last week that such matters were between it and its employees.