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Business

East Germans Should Counsel Own Unemployed

After hefty criticism was heaped on a program to attract west Germans to jobs counselling the unemployed in eastern Germany, the government ordered that the practice be stopped. But the Federal Labor Agency said it intends to keep the workers it's hired from the west, arguing they've already been trained, and their contracts only go until the end of June 2005. Western workers from the Deutsche Telekom subsidiary Vivento who volunteered to take jobs in the east counselling the unemployed were offered a €5,000 ($6,100) "flexibility" premium -- a practice that has outraged government leaders in the eastern states. Saxony's state premier, Georg Milbradt, said the program showed how little understanding the federal government had for the situation in the east. "Why should we take people from Bavaria, which hardly has any unemployment and pay them generous premiums when there are enough well-trained unemployed people in the east to do these jobs?" Milbradt asked.