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Government workers charged illegal recruitment fees

NEW employees in one Hunan Province county are illegally and routinely charged recruitment fees of around 10,000 yuan (US$1,464), the Southern Metropolitan Daily reported today.

The newspaper quoted the Website of the provincial environmental protection authority, which confirmed the illegal recruitment fees on July 22 in response to a whistle-blower's complaint.

The practice occurred in the Shupu County Environmental Protection Bureau where more than 60 new employees had been required to pay fees to the bureau to help in its financing, the report said. They were called "loans" to help the bureau's financing.

The "loans"were never repaid to the 60 workers, including one who waited eight years, one worker was quoted as saying. They were reportedly told the bureau had no intention of returning the money.

Recruitment fees are illegal in China but are more common among private enterprises.

The fees are a large sum for workers who only earn around 1,000 yuan each month, the worker said.

On its Website, the provincial environmental protection authority confirmed that fees have been collected in the county since 1999 as a "routine practice" among county-level government departments in Shupu. Some departments even charge a higher fee of 20,000 yuan, the report said.

The whistle-blower's complaint also alleged the county bureau was lax in recruiting and hired more workers than necessary. He said 117 workers are employed in the bureau, compared with 50 in 2002 when the current bureau director took up his post. In a similar bureau more developed Xiangtan County in Hunan, only 40 workers are employed, the newspaper reported.


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