EPFO Amendments: Govt Should Learn the Lessons
THE government of India has been forced to withdraw the notifications, amending the rules for withdrawal of funds from the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). In a statement issued on April 20, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) underlined that the government, which was not prepared to listen to the demands of the central trade unions and their representatives in the Central Board of Trustees of EPFO, had to withdraw it because of struggles of workers in different parts of the country including Bengaluru and Visakhapatnam.
It is to be recalled that last year’s union budget proposed to appropriate the so-called unclaimed money from EPFO while this year the government proposed to tax EPFO contributions, which it had to withdraw later due to huge protests in different parts of the country. These measures are part of the government policies aimed at dismantling the EPF itself.
In the meeting of the CBT on March 29, 2016, all the trade union representatives demanded withdrawal of this notification or to give an option to the workers to withdraw their money or to continue to keep it in EPFO. The government is trying to mislead by saying that the amendment on February 10 was done as per the suggestions of some trade unions.
Denial of full withdrawal creates serious difficulties to the workers, particularly in situations where they do not have any job security and other statutory benefits, as in the case of garment sector where huge unrest has erupted.
The CITU has congratulated the workers who have forced the government to withdraw this unwanted amendment. It reiterated its demand that the government should hold proper consultations with trade unions before taking any policy decision that impacts the workers in any way.