How many corporate boxes were the at the Popathon at Sydney’s Barangaroo yesterday? I know Mercedes Benz, for one, it hosting a lunch, afternoon tea and dinner show for those on its corporate invitation list making the location live up to its more common name of “The Hungry Mile”.

Apparently the Catholic Outbound tourist company called Harvest was given the job of handling the Inbound pilgrims. There are homeless pilgrims everywhere. They had no confirmation system in place and didn’t get an event organiser onboard. The whole thing is only hanging semi together with the goodwill of a limited few inbound people who are all doing their best surrounded by a sea of well-meaning but useless volunteers.

We have an ex-religious in our team. For a time he trained to become a Christian Brother (learning how to beat an education into boys). He was at our shredder today, which had jammed, and said “Mother Mary McKillop help me”. The shredder is now working. Is this the miracle needed for MMM to become a saint?

Spotted in Bondi. “Father, I am not your Father, Luke.”

Just received an email from a friend via a friend via a friend who is a Qantas engineer. Clearly the distribution has gone viral. Apparently, some engineers have taken it upon themselves to print this letter out and leave it for passengers to find:

Anyone flying Qantas recently would have a good chance of suffering delays and cancellations. I would like to apologise on behalf of the engineers for the delays caused by our “go slow campaign”, but I can’t. Because it is not true. I can however, apologise on behalf of Qantas for the lies of a few who slander the 1,500 engineers who have been working harder than they ever have to keep aircraft flying safely.

Someone in Qantas management has authorised the distribution of letters and notes to affected passengers accusing us of a “go slow campaign”. The truth is that we are not working overtime on our days off, and we are fully complying with the policies and procedures written by Qantas Engineering management, which actually adds to our workload.

Unfortunately, Qantas Engineering has become overstretched. The last few years has seen the closure of Sydney Heavy Maintenance and the slow bleed of highly trained engineers through numerous rounds of redundancies, leaving Qantas Engineering with about 20% fewer engineers. Yet in the same time the fleet has expanded by about 20% — a clearly massive increase in productivity per engineer. Yet the current Qantas Engineering management (many of whom have no prior aircraft engineering or aviation management background) have introduced new policies and procedures that make it increasingly difficult to do our core job of fixing aircraft in a timely manner.

There have been repeated changes in organisational structure; a sharp decline in the number of spare parts held and an inadequate distribution of the remaining spare parts; outsourcing of numerous component repair functions that were once done in-house to unmatched standards of both turnover time, quality and reliability; a proliferation of lower and middle management roles; more engineers involved in “special projects” and other frivolous and unnecessary tasks rather than actually working on aircraft… the list goes on.

Over the years our productivity has increased despite these new policies and procedures. This is because in the past we worked around, massaged, bent and stretched them and sometimes outright ignored the sillier ones. We made do with the little we had left. We worked overtime on our days off and after our shift ended, and worked through our meal-breaks. We risked dismissal for violating company policies and procedures as we worked around the shortages of equipment caused by constant cost-cutting and the failures, impractical.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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