Govts light fire under slacking workers

11:11, April 19, 2011      

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A growing number of local governments are looking for ways to improve the productivity of civil servants who waste time playing games and chatting online instead of doing their jobs.

Wuhan, the capital of Central China's Hubei province, is among them and has set up a hotline for residents to report slackers and inefficiency. In the first three days, the hotlines received more than 600 reports from residents, reported.

According to a circular issued earlier this month, the city government has singled out 10 types of behavior it would like to crack down on, including evasion of duties, lack of discipline and inefficiency.

Any official or government employee found kicking back when there is work to be done could face punishments including such serious sanctions as demotion or dismissal, the circular said.

The anti-slacker campaign aims to boost efficiency and cut down on bureaucracy and comes at a time when the city is pushing to be known as a regional economic center, the circular noted.

Wuhan has also set up a special office that will carry out undercover investigations of local government departments.

On April 12, members of the undercover team secretly visited 14 government organizations and discovered 29 violations, including people playing online games, workers leaving off early and employees leaving their desks to chat or carry out personal errands.

Wuhan is not alone in pushing to get more out of its workforce. Governments looking after Hunan province and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have also launched similar crackdowns against inefficiency.

Hunan provincial government issued a circular recently warning that civil servants will be seriously punished if they are found neglecting or not handling issues in a timely manner.

In Xinjiang, Zhang Chunxian, Party chief of the autonomous region, said recently that slackness and laziness among government workers must be ended.

So far, nine of its departments have been criticized publicly for being overly bureaucratic and six officials have been removed from their posts, according to media reports.

Liu Jianping, a professor at the public management college of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, said there has been an obvious improvement in some departments since the campaign started.

Su Xinwei, a senior official with the economy and information commission in Wuhan, said he has been working more diligently since the campaign there kicked off.

"The results show that we can do better in our work," Su said.

But many residents have wondered how effective the initiative will be.

Zhang Ying, 26, an employee at an advertising company in Wuhan, said the crackdown may only last for a limited time and bad habits could soon creep back. Professor Liu said the government could rectify that by making such campaigns into long-term ongoing programs.

Guo Rui contributed to this story.

Source: China Daily
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