The Communications Workers Union has kicked off its campaign to save up to 9500 jobs that Telstra plans to axe over the next three years, calling on the federal government, the community and other key stakeholders to step in.
The CWU, which represents telecommunications workers within the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), launched a petition calling for the government to intervene and work with Telstra find an alternative to the job cuts.
The petition had 156 signatures at the time of writing.
The cuts were revealed last week as part of the telco's radical Telstra2022 cost-cutting measures, which will see nearly a third of its workforce ousted along with between two and four layers of management.
The strategy aims to reduce Telstra's costs, simplify its structure and improve customer experience following continued disappointed financial results for the country's largest telco.
The union said the plan to save jobs has already started gaining traction, with state premiers and federal politicians on both sides voicing concerns.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews threw his weight behind the workers, saying in a media statement that the state government would help affected staff with training services through its Jobs Victoria - Workers in Transition program.
Federal treasurer Scott Morrison told media last week it was a "tough reminder" of the challenges that all businesses face, and federal communications minister Mitch Fifield said Telstra would implement a $50 million transition program for affected staff.
The union argued it was also in the public's interest to rally against the job cuts, citing an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that said 80 percent of Telstra's mobile customers preferred to deal with a human about their service rather than an automated system.
"Telstra workers have been ambushed by management and told that nearly a third of them will be made jobless," the CWU said in a statement.
"There has to be a better way. A good government would step in and urgently bring together management, workers and other key stakeholders to work out an alternative and save these jobs."
Telstra expects restructuring costs will mount to $600 million in the 2019 financial year, which also includes separating most of its infrastructure-related businesses into a new company called InfraCo.