The telco announced on Wednesday that, as part of its Telstra2022 strategy, it would reduce two to four layers of management, leading to the cutting of one in four executive and middle management roles.
CWU national president Shane Murphy said the cuts were among the largest in Australian corporate history.
“Telstra’s decision to slash 8000 jobs will devastate thousands of Australian families and have a significant impact on Telstra’s ability to deliver for consumers," Murphy said in a statement.
Murphy said the union was particularly concerned about the plan to split Telstra's infrastructure assets off into a separate unit as this seemed to be the first step to putting it up for sale.
“This is a recipe for reduced services, with Telstra’s highly skilled workforce of employees and contractors replaced by casuals and piece-workers," Murphy claimed.
The Telstra announcement comes as the union is bargaining for a new enterprise agreement to cover the telco's workforce.
“These cuts will directly impact on Telstra’s ability to service existing clients, particularly those who in regional areas rely on the network for business and essential services," Murphy said.
“Today’s jobs purge is the low point of 20 years of privatisation, which has consistently taken the low road of cutting jobs rather than investing in vital community infrastructure.
“On behalf of Telstra workers and Telstra customers I am calling on chief executive Andy Penn to reconsider this drastic action.”
In a joint statement on Thursday, the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union and the Community and Public Sector Union said: "Telstra’s announcement of the largest jobs purge in Australian corporate history is unacceptable.
"The destruction of 8000 skilled white- and blue-collar jobs is a national jobs emergency that cannot be allowed to proceed."
The two unions said cuts of such a magnitude would badly affect Telstra’s ability to to deliver quality services, especially in rural and regional communities.
"It also sends a terrible message more broadly that workers in a high-tech, digital business like Telstra can be thrown on the scrap-heap so easily," they said.
"The Federal Government must urgently intervene in this issue to retain worker confidence in the economy and use its power as a major consumer of telecommunications services to maximise pressure to protect these jobs."