UGF

Bank employee, Syrdarya region, June 2017

“Based on the order of the head of the district administration, the chief of the bank declared that staff should take part in this process one day before the start of the cotton cultivation season. We were told that everybody should go to the cotton fields every day by replacing each other every week. He read out the list of people who would go to the field first. At the same time he said that for those members of staff who did not want to take part in field work, he had found a number of hired people who would work for them. The only thing is, that they should pay them from their own pockets, he said. Many welcomed this option.

Almost 90 per cent of people declared that they did not want to work in the cotton fields and agreed to hire people instead of themselves. So the staff of the bank resolved this issue by paying 80,000 Som per week. During the first several days I went to the field myself. However, when I did the calculation, it turned out that I was spending a lot of money on field work. This is why I also paid the above-mentioned amount of money for the next few days. The rest is up to the conscience of the head of the bank. If he wishes, he can either hire people or put the money into his own pocket. The important thing for me is that he should no longer bother me with the issue of digging up the roots of cotton plants. I heard that other banks were ordered to send 30 per cent of their staff to do field work, but our bank is sending more. The role of the head of the bank is important in this issue. This is about the issue of bribery. He tells us that 40 per cent of the staff have to go to the cotton fields, but in practice he sends 30 per cent of the staff. And he simply appropriates the money collected from the remaining 10 per cent of the bank staff.”