Fairfax announced the move of its Sydney operations last year, with new CEO David Kirk promising the shift from Darling Park to Darling Island would give the company a chance to bring all its offices and staff together.

In fact the reverse happened, and we have had to break up and now have six separate premises, including an IT office in Pyrmont Bridge Rroad because there was no security of power supply down on the island. Staff have also been sent to Richmond and St Leonards and Wharf Seven at Pyrmont.

Since the Herald and Sun Herald moved in over the past 10 days, there’s been a lot of complaints, mainly about the overcrowding that’s resulted from jamming people into a smaller place.
But what’s really got people talking, and especially the contrators, is Ron Walker’s visit to the executive floor a couple of weeks back.

Big Ron walked into the top foor, floor five, took one look at his new premises and said: “I’m not having an L-shaped office, get rid of it.”

As the former treasurer of the Liberal Party, you might think Ron would have liked nothing more than an office shaped like an L. But no, he insisted on a rectangular office and that’s what he got, at a cost of who knows how many hundreds of thousands. To build it they pulled the brand new one down down along with the board room, the PA’s offices, David Kirk’s office and all the other executive offices in mahogony row. New cabling, new glass, new power outlets, and built-in furniture all were junked to make the changes. There’s a team of a dozen or so still working on it and they are less than amused.

And how long is Ron going to be at the company anyway? Will he survive a change of government or will JB Fairfax take over as chairman?
And why does Ron need an office anyway? Maybe to store some of the 30 per cent pay rise the company is about to award the board at the AGM later this month.

Staff had a stop work meeting yesterday to complain about the new premises which have up to five people crammed into horseshoe shaped desk arrangments. It is impossible to have any privacy while making a call. Will the company be as flexible with staff in making changes that are obviously needed as they have been with accommodating Ron’s anti-L bent?

A Fairfax spokesman said the group had ”no comment” this morning.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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