From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Radio meltdown. Which senior ABC figure allegedly whistled at a female manager then yelled “down, down girl”? An ABC spokesperson said “the ABC is aware of the incident and are working it through with the parties”. We’ll keep you posted.

Top ranks doing fine. Is it true that senior jobs are being created at South Australia’s Department of Primary Industries & Resources SA “and filled without advertising”? This while there are public service cuts across the board …

Forrest’s lunch. Intrigued by this Crikey story yesterday about Twiggy Forrest taking on the miners to try to stop mining on his property and losing (huh?), a WA stringer related this anecdote. Our correspondent was out for lunch recently at a vineyard just north of WA’s Margaret River (“coal-free country”):

“The ambiance of the afternoon was shattered by the arrival of a helicopter, and within minutes in strode the Lord of the Manor, grandson of Lord Forrest, one Twiggy Forest. The only table, for eight, still unfilled was taken up by himself. As they attracted the attention of what were mainly foreign tourists who seemed bemused by ockers at home rather than abroad, not knowing it was a public school-type lunch. What Kath [Day-Knight] would describe as a ‘look at me’ moment.”

A helicopter taking one to lunch! Tips has to get into iron ore.

Check-out solidarity. Tips is curious as to what happened to all those supermarket check-out operators when they were replaced by beep-beep machines. You responded:

“Re: Woolworths. Love those guys — I have a friend who works in a Melbourne suburban store, and word from her was that management were telling people to take a few days sick leave as it comes from a different budget and makes it look like they’re not spending as much on staff wages. My friend already has limited sick leave and was unwilling to participate.  Management got quite annoyed with her when she insisted on turning up to work her scheduled shift. Great organisational culture in that company!”

“With regard to checkout operators and floor staff: A friend of mine has worked in a Kmart store for some time. She was recently moved from a day shift to a night shift because, apparently, day staff waste too much time helping customers. Permanent staff working at night can do shelf filling, allowing the store to lay off the casuals that traditionally did this job.”

Sounds like conditions aren’t great — and certainly it can be hard to find floor staff these days when you just can’t find the pine nuts.

Mysterious Sydney ferry antics. A sharp-eyed Crikey reader is curious about what’s going on with the Manly ferries on Sydney harbour. She reports some of the ferries have been stopping in the harbour and beginning to drift for up to 20 minutes, then stop-starting. The police launch has been to help one of the apparently stricken ferries, and some have been returning to Circular Quay instead of carrying on to Manly. “There’s a lot of rumours about the state of the Sydney Harbour ferries and the reluctance to rebuild or replace the fleet — they’re all ancient,” our nautical source said. If you’re a ferry insider, tell us what’s going on.

Just one more detail … thanks to the tipster who let us know the CEO and the CFO have been let go. Next time, tell us where from — then the tip will be even better.

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