Bidding for public services contracts for the Government involving new short-term jobs should be restricted to non-profit-making groups to reduce the chance of workers being exploited, a welfare group urged yesterday. The restriction would help to avoid controversy for the administration with unscrupulous contractors who pay below-market wages, according to the Society for Community Organisation. Mr Tung announced on Wednesday that there would be 8,000 short-term jobs created in environmental protection, street cleaning, health care and welfare. The society's community campaigner, Ng Wai-tung, said: 'The authorities can restrict participation in the tenders to non-governmental organisations only. I really doubt they will go down the same path as some of the ill-behaved private operators because they will face greater pressure to maintain a positive public image.' She said the Government should also try to hire workers directly instead of through contractors, adding that the move would be especially useful for organisations operating retraining courses for the jobless. The South China Morning Post reported in February that a 67-year-old toilet cleaner working for a government sub-contactor earned $7 an hour for working a 14-hour day without holidays. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, which will be responsible for many of the short-term jobs, said most of 2,600 such jobs to be created in the next year would still use contractors. The department said since July, new rules on pay and conditions had been incorporated into the tendering process. 'Our tenders have always been open to organisations of any type. We can't limit our bidders to a certain interest groups as it would draw accusations of unfairness from others,' a spokesman said.