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Andhra Pradesh - Visakhapatnam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Unions decry cut in EPF rate

By Our Staff Reporter

VISAKHAPATNAM, AUG. 10. Trade unions criticised the recommendation of the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to the Union Finance Ministry to reduce the interest rate on PF by one per cent (to 8.5 per cent) for the 2004-05 fiscal.

`Middle class hit'

The assistant general secretary of the All India Railwaymen's Federation and general secretary of the East Coast Railway Shramik Union, Chalasani Gandhi, termed the decision as "most unfortunate" as it hit hard the middle class employees.

"Whenever the PF interest rate was reduced in the past, the trade unions affiliated to the opposition parties had criticised it. But now they are supporting the cut," Mr. Gandhi said in a press release.

`Hike rate to 12%'

The AIRF wanted the rate to be increased to 12 per cent, he said and announced that the ECRSU would organise protests all over the East Coast Railway zone on August 20.

The provident fund was accumulated over a period of three or four decades and generally took care of the employee's major needs. However, the interest rate was reduced by 3.5 per cent in the last five years, he said.

BMS plan rejected

The secretary of the State unit of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), M. Jagadishwara Rao, regretted that the formula submitted by its representative on the CBT, Allampalli Venkatram, to increase the rate to 12 per cent (from the 9.5 per cent for 2003-04) without burdening the EPFO, was not accepted. He alleged that the Left parties were supporting the Congress-led Government in the Centre on this decision while the Leftist trade unions were opposing it in public.

The BMS was critical of the INTUC for not opposing the decision and pointed out that the BMS had opposed the NDA Government whenever an anti-working class decision was taken.

The CITU called upon the working class to protest against the cut. The president of the district committee of the CITU, M. B. Radhakrishna, too wanted the interest rate be increased to 12 per cent.

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