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Workers paid to do nothing for 25 years

THE French government is facing outrage after revelations that 30 bureaucrats in the southern city of Toulon were paid to do nothing for more than 25 years.

Taxpayers forked out more than $1.6 million a year (€1 million) for the public servants, who were left without jobs after water services in Toulon were privatised.

The city failed to find them new posts but continued paying their salaries, according to a report by the Provence-Alps-Riviera Regional Audit Office, first revealed by local newspaper Var-matin.

One of the "phantom" bureaucrats collected a salary while also working as a manager in the private sector, while others received automatic promotions and pay increases based on length of service.

"It is regrettable, to say the least, that the city was not capable of finding new jobs for some of these employees, especially the youngest," the audit report said, according to the UK Daily Telegraph.

The report said the management centre responsible for the employees "had little motivation to find them new jobs" because as long as it reported a deficit, they would continue to be paid out of the budgets of the local authorities that originally employed them.

"The budget forecast of the management centre is presented showing a deficit each year to trigger a specific legal provision allowing continued funding of the remuneration of staff without jobs," it said.

Some of the employees will receive the maximum pension as a result of remaining on the payroll until the working age limit of 67.

The Telegraph reports the revelation comes amid growing anger at the country's bloated and lazy public sector, high taxes and rising cost of living.

Two months ago, a government report found more than 300,000 public servants fail to work the minimum required 35 hours per week. President Emmanuel Macron has promised to cut 120,000 public service jobs by 2022 in a bid to save $97 billion (€60 billion).

It comes after two similar cases of French bureaucrats being paid for years despite doing no work. In Spain, a public servant made headlines in 2016 after he skipped work for a decade without anyone noticing.

frank.chung@news.com.au


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