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Beaten, abused and understaffed

URBAN management officials say they are suffering from poor staffing levels and adverse public reaction from allegations of beating illegal street vendors.

Pudong's Lujiazui area plans to employ new urban management staff for the first time in years in the run-up to the 2010 World Expo. Lujiazui will hire 15 college students on a monthly salary of 2,000 yuan (US$293).

"We always require applicants to possess at least college degrees," Chen Gang, office director of the urban management team in Lujiazui area. "But we haven't been allowed to employ more staff for many years.

"A person needs to do two person's work here. There are many reports of urban management employees' improper practice, but few people realize the hard workload and suffering in the job."

Officials from Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau said yesterday that the 6,000 urban management staff in the city suffered beatings on average 1.5 times a year and some of those attacks were severe.

The urban management staff's main job is to clear away illegal street stalls, a consistent headache for local government.

"The high cost of renting a position in indoor markets and residents' demands for such stalls make them a standing problem," said Peng Yanling from the bureau's legal affair department.

"We are studying how to properly locate these stalls, which are mostly owned by laid-off people and migrant workers," Peng said.

Dozens of students came to apply for the new urban management positions yesterday, with applications closing today.

The new staff will mainly be responsible for cracking down on illegal transport in the area.

"It's difficult for me to find a job in the economic crisis," said Zhu Jie, an applicant and new graduate from Shanghai Urban Management Polytechnic College.

Zhu said many of his fellow students don't work in urban management as there are few jobs despite the lack of staffing.

Meanwhile, a new regulation on how to deal with goods confiscated by urban management staff takes effect on Saturday.

If the stall owners don't go to the bureau to pay their fines, goods will be auctioned in local markets. The money will be returned to the owner less the fine.

Previously such goods were sent to retirees' houses.


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