Meat company AFFCO is rejecting claims by the Meat Workers Union that it used stalling tactics when negotiating collective agreements, to wait for the employment law changes that came into effect on Friday.
The Employment Relations Amendment Act allows employers to walk away from collective bargaining.
The union said the company was proposing to cut weekly minimum pay by more than $100 and make staff work longer days for less.
The two parties have been negotiating a collective agreement for 14 months.
Meat Workers Union president Mike Nahu said staff at the eight AFFCO plants around the North Island were worried the company was relying on the law changes to avoid a collective agreement and use individual contracts instead.
However, AFFCO's director of operations, Rowan Ogg, said the law changes would not make any difference to negotiations, and the assertion was only the union's opinion.