Having recently worked for Fairfax I can suggest that before Fairfax look to improving matters outside the company, the company’s internal health needs to be addressed. If Fairfax wants more business, they need to look after their old and new customers. Due to all the recent slashing of jobs, which has created staff insecurity, it has become apparent that the remaining staff is also not valued at all, and it would be considered a blessing if anyone decided to leave — saving the company more money.

Meanwhile, the remaining staff are picking up the slack, trying to take on more roles with no training. Many staff are doing jobs poorly and giving terrible customer service under the pressure of all their new roles. There is a severe lack of perceived direction with Fairfax. Forget about Ron Walker — I thought Brian McCarthy was the one guiding this ship. Sacking staff, paying poor wages, no funds allocated for training or to improve/update equipment leaves this ship ready to sink at any moment.

Glad I saved myself and jumped overboard in time. Will anyone listen to new strategies to get this ship buoyant again? Let’s hope so — and I hope some appreciation will filter down to staff who have really been giving their all. They may also have some improvement ideas of their own — if any one asked. Wouldn’t it be good if “the board” spoke to staff to see where problems lay and found out how bad things really are, instead of sitting in their ivory tower away from the reality.

Customs time frames. I get plenty of stuff from overseas via EMS. When it gets stopped by Customs and requires a clearance, it takes at least nine days for the (posted) advice to reach me in Perth telling me about it. Usually after the goods have taken less than three days to arrive in Australia. To add insult to injury there’s a nice little note down the bottom of the advice telling me that I’ll incur storage from the day I receive the letter. Incompetent fools.

A battery of large water tanks has appeared beside the Medley building at Melbourne Uni. It appears they’re intended to water the vice-chancellor’s garden, including his rarely used lawn tennis court. In a city where it’s been illegal to water your lawn for several years, wouldn’t it be better to resurface the tennis court and use the water to keep other plants alive during our increasingly ferocious summers?

Catty comment. Posters going up for the Melbourne Gangsters’ Ball — an evening of burlesque blah blah, held presumably just to make absolutely clear that burlesque is over the hump —  features huge billing for its MC, cabaret sensation Meow Meow, adding in brackets afterwards “(New York)”. New York. Meow Meow? It’s Mel Gray, arts student from Malvern. Bless. — Crikey reader

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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