I’m a member of the National Union of Workers in NSW. The union is in the middle of a national referendum at the moment over a change in the rules which could mean the state branches are abolished and moved to a federated system. The national office of the union in Melbourne is pushing for a YES vote.

They have been using their own call centre called NUW Assist. The call centre people are harassing us members trying to get us to vote yes. I have gotten six calls so far from early in the morning to late at night. One caller on the weekend told me that if I “want to keep my job” I have to vote yes.

When I told them what that statement meant, I was called stupid and to do what I was told. A great way to win votes!

The union in NSW has been advocating a NO vote and they have been doing it nicely by visiting workplaces and talking to people.

Shame their victorian counterparts don’t have fundamental manners in hand!

Not sure if anyone else has noticed, but Sol Truillo will leave Telstra with a senior management team that is virtually identical to the one he inherited from his predecessor, Ziggy Switkowski. Take away his imported amigos and what remains is scarily similar to Ziggy’s old team. So much for succession planning, and also the notion of new senior people bringing fresh ideas.

It also adds credence to the view that Sol’s legacy is little more than a fast-tracked implementation of many strategic initiatives that were planned or underway when he arrived.

One thing he’s done, however, is to seriously damage the carrier’s relationships with Canberra and perpetuate the view that efficient customer service is not really a high priority.

He also leaves the company’s billing system integration in a complete mess, with “exceptions” (complaints, billing issues, service errors, mistakes etc to most of us) more than doubling in recent months as customers are migrated from the old platform to the new.

What is going on with subscriptions at the Age? I suspended my subscription for a couple of days last week but it didn’t resume. Only after calling their number 13 66 66 three times — and waiting on hold for 20 minutes each time — did I get through. The operator then told me they’re having subscribers wait on hold for up to 35 minutes! Apparently they’re going through a “major system upgrade”, as the recorded voice tells you when you’re on hold.

Two emails that I sent via the Age’s website received no replies either — and despite being told that I can suspend my subscription online, the new subscription number that they issued me as part of the “upgrade” didn’t work. This in the week that they sent out a letter saying they’re putting up subscription prices!

It’s hardly the time for The Age to annoy readers with poor customer service. I’ve been considering swapping to the Australian because of the general decline in the quality of The Age. This may spur me to do so. I wonder how many others are considering the same.

Quality customer service at The Age. Fresh from sacking The Age‘s swithboard operators, reader services department, shutting The Age Shop, comes word that the architect of these reader-friendly changes, highly paid “Business Operations Director”, David Skelton, is busily working on another important special revenue raising project: permanently closing the doors at The Age‘s Spencer Street entrance. Age journos are asking what’s next. Turn off the lights?

It would be hilarious if Sue Morphet had to come out and defend this website. Imagine her saying she would do none of this … what a great stir…

It might be worth putting in a call to Channel Seven about their new series Gangs of Oz that premiered last night. While I can’t be certain, it seemed that they had attempted to obscure the identity of a former gang member but failed. The Asian man in question was covered with a faint black mask but was clearly identifiable throughout the program. Did this man agree to be interviewed on the proviso that his image be obscured? If the answer is yes, why did this not occur and is the man now concerned for his safety as a result of the broadcast?

Re. The Report of the Federal Government’s Maternity Services Review. Despite hundreds of submissions from women and professionals supporting homebirth, and evidence that homebirth is a reasonable option for many women, the writers of the report have conceded to powerful lobby groups opposing homebirth, over the interests of women.

If the Minister accepts the recommendations of the Report, midwives who are self employed will be unable to register from 1 July 2010, and women planning homebirth will have no professional attendant to engage. Will this lead to backyard/underground birthing? See here.

The co-owner of the big boozing Manly Sea-Eagles is Scott Penn. But he is also the owner of the Biggest Loser Club — all about health. He has paid for a NSW University student to complete a diet oriented PhD in the drive to have “research” that backs his. In 2008 he spoke out against Myer opening a plus size range suggesting that it encouraged people to be overweight. Contradictory messages!

Meanwhile…

Im from st george qld. HOW DARE you talk about cubby when you only know not even half the story. cubby is only allowed to take water form the rivers wen the rivers burst there banks. and they provid alot of jobs to people from out there. how about next time you shut your mouths and actualy study Cubby im sure that all your big heads would come down with a thud when you realise that you are wroung. ANGRY AT PEOPLE THAT DONT KNOW JACK