Petition line signs
PEOPLE lined-up in Lismore to sign a petition against the loss of 116 Telstra jobs yesterday afternoon.
Within 45 minutes of being set up at the twilight markets, the petition was signed by almost 100 people.
"We're starting a grass roots campaign and trying to get the community aware of what's happening," Community and Public Sector Union field organiser Mary Rose Abbott said.
"The response has been great. Five people have just gone, 'That's it, I'm walking around to Telstra retail to cancel my contract'."
Anna and Michael Fitzalan of Goonellabah signed the petition and were upset at the prospect of 116 local jobs being lost.
"It's really sad that a community like ours is losing so many jobs and that Telstra's priorities are elsewhere," Ms Fitzalan said.
Yesterday, Dr James Gallagher of Lismore wore a shirt to the markets which said, "Telstra: hands off Lismore jobs".
"We have to do what we can to tell these people that while they own the business, they have a social obligation," he said.
The union planned to expand its campaign by asking businesses to have petitions available in their shops for people to sign.
However, Ms Abbott was uncertain about how successful the campaign would ultimately be.
"With all honesty, I can't say 'yes, we're going to be successful' or 'no, we're not going to be successful. But with Grafton, Telstra really didn't like the backlash from that, so if we can mount a very strong community campaign here, who knows what can happen?" she said.
"We'll do everything we can. Ultimately, we'd like to see the centre be retained."