The Tertiary Education Union says Auckland's Unitec Institute of Technology should not to go ahead with plans to cut 50 of the 53 jobs in its design and visual arts department.
Union Secretary Sharn Riggs said the institute had been consulting on how to restructure the department since August and now was planning to cut most of its jobs and create 17 new positions.
Ms Riggs said the change was one of the biggest restructurings in the polytehnic sector in recent years.
"Its huge. Restructurings are consistent across the sector. This is I think affecting a disproportionately large number of staff in one particular area and it's difficult to see how that is going to make the programme better and how it is going to have better results for students."
Sharn Riggs says many polytechnics are struggling because of a lack of government funding.