Wednesday and Thursday are the days that Aussie Home Loans tells Wizard main office staff who stays and who goes. Most staff are expected to be cut loose. Aussie John is pretending that nothing will change yet the Wizard brand will end at the end of February, and Aussie will take it over. Another Australian brand gone. I am a branch principal in Victoria, and our state office is expected to close and many of my branch principal colleagues are going to walk.

Seems that BHP Billiton went ahead with the installation of a new $3.5 million kitchen to service the mine workers, and also upgraded accommodation (60 plasma TV screens anyone?), while top management were planning to pull the pin.

Air traffic controllers are asking for 63% pay rise.

Has any Sunday Age reader asked why last Sunday’s paper was accompanied in many parts of Melbourne by a Sunday Life insert dated December 17 (with Matty Hayden on the cover) rather than the promoted one with our Elle as the cover shot? We understand distribution staff have been cut by 33 per cent.

Your item about staff cuts as Myer rings very true. I was one of seven customers milling around in the electrical department of Myer Chatswood on Sunday engaged in a fruitless search for a staff member willing to relieve customers of their money. Two of us stayed, the rest left — bewildered and fed up. Little wonder sales are declining.

Time you spoke to the Herald Sun, the paper that sells on its sports coverage, about the six sport reporters who have told they are not required for AFL round 1, or even the pre-season cup. They join more than 40 HWT editorial staff induced into redundancy or simply not replaced. (Of course, there is no intention of reducing the number of managing editors/editors/associate editors whose numbers somehow keep increasing.) Noticed the much smaller newspapers as the advertising dollars dry up? Well, fewer pages to fill of course means fewer subs too. Crikey has been very quiet about News slashing editorial staff around the country, compared to its coverage of Fairfax’s similar cost-saving endeavours.

Following on from a Hawthorn player’s bad behaviour, which two senior Sydney Swans were seen spitting in a woman’s champagne glass at the Coogee Bay Hotel last Thursday night? The woman was away from the table and was humiliated when she returned and drank from the glass.

Peter Fray

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