CITU Protests Govt’s Move to Invest PF Money in Share Market
THE Centre of Indian Trade Unions in a statement issued on April 1 has registered its strong protest over the government’s decision to invest 5 to 15 per cent of workers PF accumulation in speculative share market, ignoring the total opposition to this by the entire trade union movement. It may be recalled that the earlier labour ministers as chairman of the Central Board of Trustees used to take a position supporting the views of trade unions. But now the current labour minister of the BJP government is supporting the employers demand for share market investment of PF accumulations, the statement noted. In addition to the disastrous new investment pattern, proposals have been officially made for wholesale amendment of the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1952 which includes matters presented by the finance minister in his budget speech on amendment of the EPF Act. Except for widening the scope of implementation of the EPF Act, by reducing the limit of the number of workers to 10 from 20, most of the other amendments will result in the death knell of the Social Security Scheme in the country, which has been showcased as a great achievement of the country. Option is being given to EPF subscribers to switch over to the National Pension Scheme (NPS) which is only a saving scheme. By projecting NPS as a better alternative to provident fund, the government is trying to move the workers from a Social Security Scheme, which guarantees certain benefits even to the family members of EPF subscribers. Through some other amendments, the government, in the name of supporting small factories, is reducing the existing benefits to the largest chunk of industrial workers in the country. Workers in factories with 10 to 40 workers will get lesser benefits from the EPF. It is to be noted that more than 75 per cent of industrial workers are from these factories with workers up to 40. In total, the changes being made in the EPF Scheme in the country are part of the market oriented neo-liberal economic policies of the BJP government at the centre, the statement said. The CITU has called upon the working people in the country to raise their voice of protest against these amendments and investment proposals along with the campaign and preparations for the united direct action against the BJP government’s anti-worker, anti-people policies.