Workers at the Ministry for Primary Industries will hold stopwork meetings next month to consider industrial action, according to the Public Service Association which represents them.
PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff says the ministry is deliberately provoking a dispute by reducing conditions of employment and it walked away from talks earlier this week.
The ministry has three different collective agreements after being created by the merger of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Fisheries and Food Safety Authority.
The ministry was trying to take the lowest common denominators from the three contracts and apply them across the board, Mr Wagstaff said.
"It's not acceptable for MPI to come to the table with a take-it or leave-it approach and refuse to address what are valid proposals put forward by employees," Mr Wagstaff said.
The removal of employment conditions would essentially deliver a zero percent pay increase to the majority of staff, he said.
PSA members at MPI will hold stopwork meetings next month to consider and vote on a plan of industrial action.
The PSA is claiming a three per cent pay increase for all staff from July 2012 and 2.5 per cent for each of the following two years. MPI is offering a 1.5 percent increase to border staff, while the rest are expected to have their pay set at the discretion of management.