From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Bullying in corporate spinning. Is the corporate affairs team of a top Sydney-based ASX leader about to collapse? “Following several dubious senior executive hires, more than 60% of staff have left amid claims of bullying,” according to our source. One of the executive hires has apparently been appointed to “independently” review the bullying claims. Stay tuned.

Leighton considering Spanish sell-off? As it battles to tackle corruption in its India and Indonesian operations, rumours are rife within besieged construction giant Leighton Holdings that Spanish majority owners ACS are about to decide to sell off the Leighton Contractors division (including parts of the infrastructure division focusing on roads, about to get a funding boost from the federal government). Local staff are worried and are being managed out as Spaniards are imported to fill key roles.

With unemployment in Spain nudging 30% Spanish employees are very keen to transfer to secure jobs in Australia, particularly as most are offered packages including free housing and cars. Substantially more expensive than locally employed staff. Are 457 visa application requirements being met, including a review reviewing whether engineers are available in this country? A spokeswoman refused to comment on the possible sale of Leighton Contractors, pointing to earlier statements about an ongoing review of Leighton’s operating businesses, and would neither confirm nor deny local redundancies.

Cor Plimer, ready for launch. Our readers got very excited at a recent Crikey story on climate change sceptic/hero Ian Plimer’s new book, about how environmentalists harm the planet and have a “totalitarian” approach. He uses a teaspoon to prove his case. Anyway, the book is due to come out later this month, and excitement is building. An email from the Sydney Mining Club is doing the rounds promoting the book, and the Institute of Public Affairs is also on board. Will it be launched at the Mining Club, like Plimer’s last tome? And will John Howard do the honours again? We’ll keep you posted.

Man-heavy Young Labor responds. Yesterday we passed on a grumble that ACT Young Labor has had male presidents for years and it’s time for some affirmative action. We’ve heard back from recently re-elected president Michael Pettersson, who noted he was re-elected “through an open process”. Pettersson says he’s “happy to report that ACTYL elected women to fill both senior and junior vice presidents. ACTYL supports, and conducts all of its elections, with affirmative action in place.” We would have assumed.

Not all photography dead at Fairfax. A visitor to Fairfax’s Media House in Melbourne spotted a bunch of pamphlets to the “cute little amateur photography club Fairfax is starting up”. In case you haven’t heard of it, Clique is a photography club Fairfax started last November to “inspire, teach and guide you to become a better photographer”. Since January 28, Fairfax has been setting a monthly photography challenge, with the winning photographs printed in its papers, along with other prizes. It costs $50 a year to join ($25 if you’re a Fairfax subscriber already). Given Fairfax just announced plans to sack most of its photographers, we don’t imagine too many of its journalists would appreciate this …

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