At the eleventh hour workers at the Dakota City facility of US meat giant Tyson Foods have agreed a new contract.

The deal approved by the more than 3000 workers at the plant lasts for five years. Some 97% of employees who arrived at the ballot box yesterday [Sunday] ratified the new contract.

The new agreement provides for a pay increase of US$1.55 per hour for production and slaughter employees, lifting wages to $13.65 an hour. They will also be entitled to a further week of vacation, improved health benefits and access to a multicultural fund offering programmes such as English as a second language.