Workers at the AFFCO sheep and beef plant in Wairoa have voted resoundingly to reject a new site agreement proposed by the company.
Meatworkers Union area organiser Eric Mischekski says that 97% of more than 300 meatworkers who attended a union meeting on Tuesday afternoon voted to reject the agreement.
The company wants to introduce conditions that are different to those in a core agreement it has for all its other plants.
AFFCO general Manager Rowan Ogg says that the company made a number of concessions a fortnight ago to accommodate union concerns but that, after the union rejected them outright, it withdrew its offer.
Mr Ogg says AFFCO wants to make its Wairoa plant more competitive when it comes to securing stock, and to provide more work and better pay for its employees.
He says the company wants to start lamb processing on one chain on Monday week, which would provide employment for at least 80 workers.