As hundreds of revved-up Fairfax staff move en-masse to rallying points in Sydney and Melbourne to be addressed by the likes of Father Bob Maguire in their fight over CEO Greg Hywood’s planned sacking of 300 comrades, the anecdotes have have been flowing thick and fast into Crikey‘s inbox.

With Victoria Police casing The Age‘s Media House HQ, the “Fair go Fairfax” T-shirts were making their first appearance in newsrooms, decorated with badges: “Save quality journalism. Maintain your Age.”

Letters of support have been received from Malcolm Fraser, Adam Bandt, Friends of the ABC, and the two Bobs — Brown and Carr — this week, with Fraser taking a direct swipe at Hywood in a stirring letter of support, noting that “recent management changes” were behind the mass layoffs.

Addressing the massive crowd this morning, former Victorian premier John Cain, speaking with the conviction that saw his state sail through the grim years of the mid-1980s, thundered that we would “all be poorer” if Age subs were sacked and quality declined.

Fashion designer Jenny Bannister has embraced the campaign with gusto, donning a dress declaring “Subs are still in fashion at Fairfax”, which looked like a cross between an apron and sandwich board.

As Crikey‘s deadline approached, Maguire was also keying up to bless the troops. In 2008, the radio radical conducted a “funeral” for Australian Workplace Agreements after Prime Minister Julia Gillard said they were dead and buried.

With an urn holding the ashes of an AWA, once the pride and joy of Parliament House evictee John Howard, Father Bob famously said a prayer: “May the burial of these AWAs remind us that death comes to us all — political and human — and it is the natural passage for all life. May these AWAs sleep on and not reappear in an eternal slumber in your godly care.”

Fairfax staff say that while they were primed for a strike last week, Facebook/Twitter campaigns and the Future-proof Fairfax website with statements of support from the luminaries have been “far more effective”.

“Instead of losing money while striking, staff are being paid to campaign, using company resources. Brilliant idea.”

Another source noted the other reason behind the superb industrial tactics: “Why haven’t the beleaguered Age subs gone out on strike? Well apparently the only Age subs left are unionists. As one poor sub explained, they all suspect that Fairfax management is vehemently hoping they will strike so they get rid of the lot of them. So not striking is an act of defiance.”

“Take that Fairfax!” they added.

Meanwhile, it seems Fairfax management have come up with a savvy brainwave for those caught up in a career transition, with HR Director Gary Seppings tapping something called “Directioneering” to guide redundant career choices:

Dear colleagues

We have arranged for representatives from our career advice provider, Directioneering, to conduct 45 minute individual career coaching sessions (please refer to the attached for more detail).

The sessions will be conducted in meeting room 5.33 on level 5 of Media House.

Times are available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week between 12 noon and 6:30 pm.

To make a booking, please contact HR Administrator, Susan Ung, at sung@theage.com.au or on ext 2524.

Regards
Gary Seppings
HR Director

17 May 21:00

Welcome to Directioneering. You are being offered the opportunity to sign up for an individual 45 minute career coaching session as part of the current organisational changes occurring at Fairfax.

Directioneering is an organisation that specialises in careers. Our objective is to help individuals continue and expand their careers. In order to do this we help individuals to evaluate their careers, define their career options and identify the most suitable next career step. We then assist individuals to attain the right role that is both satisfying and motivating.

For those interested in booking in for an initial 45 minute career coaching session, there are a number of topic areas that we can cover with you and which may include but are not limited to:

  • Review of your career to date and discussion around current available jobs at Fairfax
  • Current job fit
  • Ideal internal and external future opportunities
  • Initial resume review and feedback
  • Initial advise on starting your own business
  • Professional brand management
  • Research and advise on networking plans and targets

You may like to learn more about our services from our website at: http://www.facebook.com/l/44bf5q4JHmvdBDfpg0DCehsl6MQ/www.directioneering.com

We look forward to meeting you over the coming weeks.

Yours sincerely,

Sandra Foggiato
Director – Client Relations