From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Kumusta to The Age. We heard a rumour that the switchboard at The Age has been, or is about to be, outsourced to the Philippines. Tips dug around, and it seems that yes, the “contact centre” (the number to call for sales and subscriptions) was outsourced to TeleTech last year, and some of that work is now being shifted to the Philippines and New Zealand. So if you ring to order The Age, say hello to Auckland.

There was a suggestion The Age’s editorial switchboard (i.e. the number you call with a story idea or hot tip) was being outsourced to Asia, which sounded risky, but it seems that is not the case. Tips rang the general switch and the editorial switch on a fact-finding mission, and we can report both people sounded very Melbourne.

More cuts to Fairfax … Fairfax is still reeling from swingeing redundancies last year, and a tipster passed this on: “market rumour says Fairfax has more cuts coming. Management layers to go …”. There are also rumours it might be more journos (not management) in the firing line.

… job cuts#2. This from an annoyed Sydney commuter:

“City Rail is currently getting rid of nearly all station masters, preferring to have one person in charge of a few stations. How that one person will cope if multiple incidents happen at different stations at the same time is Shitty Rail’s guess. Many current station masters are staring down the barrel of either taking retrenchment or another job, which will pay about half what they’re currently on.”

Personally Tips has always rather loved the idea of being a station master with a flag and a whistle. Alas, all aboard the economic rationalism train.

… job cuts #3. But how do you find the right light globe? A mole passed this on: “Woolworths management are reducing staff levels in their hardware stores to the same level as their supermarkets. This is stupid as more people need to ask about stuff than in a hardware store than in a supermarket and so the staff levels need to be higher.”

Speaking of Woolworths, Tips wonders what has happened to all the check-out operators pushed out of a job by mechanised self-scanners at supermarkets, Kmart, etc. Have they been shifted to other work within the same company, or forced out? If you were in this position, drop us a line.

Tips feels solidarity with check-out operators after reading French “beepeuse” Anna Sam’s brilliant book on life at the check-out, Les Tribulations d’une caissière. Read it, and you’ll be much more polite to those scanning your groceries (if you can find anyone …).

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed anonymous form