From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Qantas staff hate their jobs. A memo from the Qantas Chief Pilot concerning staff “engagement” in the carrier, leaked to Crikey‘s aviation blog Plane Talking, shows considerable evidence of dissatisfaction in those who participated:

“Message from the Chief Pilot — 2012 Engagement Survey results (04/06/2012)

“The last 18 months have been difficult and this was reflected in Flight Operations’ 2012 Engagement Survey results. Fewer Flight Operations employees responded to the survey (48 per cent compared to 64 per cent in 2011) and overall engagement is lower.

“Our results show that for Flight Crew, engagement is at 26 per cent (down 12 per cent from 2011). However engagement among Flight Operations Ground Staff is higher at 74 per cent, bringing the engagement score for Flight Operations overall to 38 per cent, down seven per cent on last year and 28 per cent below Qantas as a whole.

“Among Flight Crew, we have seen declines in all question categories that can be compared to last year, and declines in all question categories compared to Qantas overall. The most significant gaps between Flight Crew and the Qantas average are in the areas of overall engagement, communication, Qantas values and behaviour, customer experience and competitive position.

“In the context of the past 12-18 months, a decline in engagement was not unexpected.

— Read the rest at Plane Talking.

Sackwatch: Fairfax firing continues? Rumours of more Fairfax redundancies on the NSW far-south coast with word that one journalist will go at Merimbula News Weekly and one administration position will be cut from Narooma News. With eight newspapers in the area there’s also talk of amalgamating some of them.

Rehiredwatch. “Having listed Hastie in your Sackedwatch, will Crikey now publish a ‘Rehired Watch’ following the rehiring of over 1200 plumbers?” asked one indignant reader. Well, we didn’t actually put that Hastie job cuts news in Sackwatch to begin with — perhaps you’re referring to this Glenn Dyer story from May 28?  According to Workplace Minister Bill Shorten this morning, Hastie employed 1400 plumbers and 1275 of them will now keep their jobs. That’s still 125 plumbers who lost their jobs …

Resuscitation required in the NSW Health ministry. We hear that NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell is reviewing his team and the Minister for Health Jillian Skinner is under the spotlight. Major health funds are receiving numerous complaints that patients being admitted into public hospitals as private patients and being paid for by the funds are not being treated accordingly as private patients and in the complainants’ opinions are receiving substandard medical advice in the public hospitals, claims a NSW health insider.

“The private health funds have commenced their own research and are reviewing their own data as a more trustworthy source of information and may commence their own standards review for each public hospital. It looks like Jillian Skinner has been caught napping and the first hospital being investigated will be a big dumper,” an anonymous tipster tells Crikey. But is this just rabble rousing from the opposition? If you’ve got inside knowledge on what’s happening in public hospitals, please email us or fill in our confidential tipster form.

RMIT asks staff to fund the uni. The vice-chancellor of RMIT University emailed university employees this week attempting to solicit donations (click through to view the whole email):

“This is coming from a university that made a $55.3 million dollar profit in 2011,” noted a staffer. In a move the staffer called “even more bizarre and shameless” the university offers a staff payroll giving option, where staff can have a donation to the university taken out of their pay fortnightly.

“Although, the provision of additional scholarships to disadvantaged students is a great idea you’d hope that the uni could access some of the funds from its coffers if more scholarships were needed, and the other donation areas are suspect at best,” said the RMIT employee. “The mere suggestion that staff should consider donating to their own employer to help it to have some level of social conscience is deplorable.”

Buzz gets swatted. Buzz Insurance (run by IAG which also own NRMA Insurance, SIO and SGIC) customers received an email yesterday explaining that Buzz Insurance has been shut down. Buzz will be honouring current policies, but not offering any new ones. You can read more about it in a statement on its website.

Myki pain continues for Melburnians. A public transport user and Crikey reader shared a most infuriating story about attempting to replace a defective Myki card:

“My Myki, which is at most 18 months old, seems to have reached the end of its life already. I hear on the Twitters (sic) that I’m not alone in this.

“The replacement process is bloody stupid. If you have a defective card, you can’t just go to the Myki website and click a button that says ‘Send me a replacement card’. No, you have to print out an out-of-date paper form, downloaded from the website. Which wants your credit card number for a since-abolished replacement fee of $9.80. You have to then send it, with your defective Myki. The replacement takes at least four weeks, during which you’re without your Myki and presumably have to fork over for daily metcards (Did I mention they’ll only replace it if it does indeed turn out to be defective?).

“I had a bizarre conversation with a women from the Myki office, who called me when they finally got around to looking at my form. I’d sent it in without my card, because it was still marginally working. She encouraged me to lie and tell her that in fact I’d lost my card, and then she could send me a new card straight away! Trouble is, at that same time she would have to hit the “kill” switch on my existing card, leaving me no way to get home!

“I’ve worked with RFID cards in the past, which is what the Myki card appears to be. There’s really nothing to them, a tiny chip and an antenna. No moving parts, no battery or anything to wear out. I can’t understand why they don’t have a lifespan of years and years.”

Want to share your public transport war stories? Email Crikey with any other Kafkaesque tales.

Kathy Jackson headlines IR conference. Get ready for next Tuesday’s event hosted by the HR Nicholls Society, the industrial relations think tank. This year’s theme for the 32nd conference is Cost, loss and disruption: Another year of the Fair Work Act and the after-dinner conference speaker will be none other than Health Services Union national secretary Kathy Jackson.

Bodies left in lifts. And this creepy tip from the 3AW rumour file this morning:

“Caller Lift Well says there is a rumour that a Melbourne hospital has found bodies twice in the last few weeks. He says the rumour is that one was found in a lift well and had been there for about four weeks, and another was found after about eight weeks. “

*Do you know more? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed-anonymous form.

Peter Fray

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