Counting the stories for subs in hub. The issues that have been raised about the News Limited sub-hubs in recent Crikey editions are just the tip of the iceberg of concerns for staff. At Bowen Hills in Brisbane, the company has installed software that records how many stories each sub checks in their shift. This has led to some staff being hauled over the coals for not reaching their targets. It has also led to pressure on everyone to rush pages through rather than stringently check for accuracy.

This call-centre mentality is a major issue for the many casuals who work on the subs’ desks at Bowen Hills because more accurate subs are being punished at the expense of “throughputs”. It is not as though anyone is lazy or clock-watching on their shifts, even though some staff have also been hauled over the coals for talking too loud. The climate of fear and loathing is alive and flourishing.

NAB wife as angry as staff. While NAB continues to spruik for more business, please spare a thought for the poor workers in NAB’s home-loan processing centres. Morale is at an all-time low in NAB’s North Sydney office, with staff openly discussing external job interviews. My husband says management is about as popular in the processing centre as Hosni Mubarak is in Egypt. Instead of working your loyal processing employees to death and demanding more blood from an already-overstretched and stressed team, how about putting on a few more staff to help with the processing please, so my husband can get home at a decent hour? Thank you, NAB wife.

Pre-cyclone bananas at post-cyclone prices. Interesting to note that bananas being unpacked at the Woolworths in St Ives  last week were from cartons clearly date stamped as having been packed on January 27 — one full week before cyclone Yasi destroyed the Queensland banana plantations, but sold at the cyclone inflated price of $5.98 per kilo. Given that Woolworths undoubtedly purchased the bananas at a pre-cyclone price, it would be nice to think that it was passing on the increased profits to the growers who subsequently lost their livelihoods it the storm — but somehow I doubt it.

Inner-city culture: we were here first. “The small-scale screening room is emblematic of a gentrification conflict repeated in cities around the world, pitting the last dregs of a suburb’s arts culture against private citizens more concerned about their personal amenity,” Crikey wrote yesterday. Trying to type this as a “middle-class white people hate art” issue is a disingenuous and all-too-obvious attempt to claim some easy cultural high ground. It is inaccurate and cynical.

Contrary to what the statement suggests, most of the residents opposing the development — three of whom I know personally — have been living in Keele Street for many, many years, well before so-called gentrification and rising house prices kicked in. Some of those in opposition are aged, many are with families, and many of them has seen the community they care about made less safe and more degraded with the various developments of recent years. Also, given the area under discussion, how this development could be called “the last dregs of a suburb’s arts culture” is beyond me.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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