Lyttelton Port Company and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union are close to reaching an agreement and averting a strike, the union says.
Lyttelton Port Company has offered a 3 per cent pay increase each year for the next three years, but the union is looking for 4 per cent for the first year - the deal that was accepted by another union on the site last year.
Union organiser John Kerr said the difference is less than $150,000 and he's hopeful the two sides will come to an agreement when they meet again on Monday.
The port and union were in mediation on Wednesday to try to resolve a dispute over late-night rosters - they didn't come to an agreement, though the union did call off planned strike action ahead of more talks on Monday.
Meanwhile, Mr Kerr said Lyttelton Port is refusing to pay some union workers for their shifts this weekend, saying it has diverted ships away from Lyttelton because of the strike threat, and there isn't any work for them.
Around 70 cargo handlers are being refused pay, according to the union.
The union workers held a protest at Christchurch City Council on Thursday appealing to the city's mayors and councillors to step in - as Lyttelton Port is wholly owned by council.
A Christchurch City Holdings Ltd spokesperson said the council wouldn't be getting involved.
"It would be inappropriate for the shareholder to intervene in the employment negotiations between the port company and its employees."