The union for workers at Graeme Lowe Tannery says staff have been told a large contract with Silver Fern Farms will not be renewed.
The Hastings tannery is one of the biggest hide processing plants in the country and is owned by Lowe Corporation.
Lowe Corp has interests in other agri-business companies, property and farming around NZ.
The tannery's exact number of employees is unknown but in 2020 Graeme Lowe Tannery Limited applied for 80 employees to be paid under the initial Covid-19 wage subsidy, then 90 employees in the wage subsidy extension.
Local E tū organiser Ruth Sproston said the tannery workers' unions were told the news on January 27 before meetings with Lowe Corporation employees began.
She said it will be business as usual for the Hastings tannery until April 1, when the contract expires.
Sproston said it was a case of waiting to see what would happen, but losing that much of the firm's business was obviously a big blow.
Sproston said she was surprised to not have been contacted directly yet by any Graeme Lowe Tannery staff.
"I think the way the times are at the moment, they may have expected it, I'm not too sure," she said.
"It's really sad because there are workers that have been at Graeme Lowe Tannery a long time. But they can rest assured that we'll be with them every step of the way."
E tū has 17 members working at the tannery.
Lowe Corporation and Silver Fern Farms have both been approached for comment.