Trade unions to stage walkout in EPF board meeting

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New Delhi, Jan 20 (UNI) The crucial meeting of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Board of Trustees next Thursday is set to witness stormy scenes with the Central Trade Unions today threatening to stage a walkout if the government insisted on not meeting their demand for 9.5 per cent rate of interest.

The Central Trade Unions are annoyed with the Finance Wing of the EPFO showing 8.25 per cent as ''sustainable interest rate'' for 2007-08 in a meeting of Board's Finance and Investment Committee (FIC) on March 2, 2007.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) president M K Pandhe and All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta told UNI that they would impress upon the government to take initiative to increase of rate of interest on the Special Deposit Schemes to give 9.5 per cent to the subscribers.

They said this was the only social security for the over 40 million beneficiaries and that it would be ''wrong'' for the government if it insisted on further reducing the interest rate.

The issue had been pending for quite sometime even as the EFPO authorities are required to announce the rate in the beginning of year.

The labour leaders said the Sponsoring Committee of the trade unions would meet here on January 23 and chalk out the action pragramme, including a one-day strike possibly in April end to register their protest against the government's move to reduce the rate of interest on the EPF and other anti-worker policies.

AITUC national secretary D L Sachdev said the trade unions would be forced to stage a walkout if the government ignores the fact that even the banks were now giving more than 9.5 per cent rate on the deposits.

Mr Sachdev said the trade unions are also annoyed with the govenment over its delay in enacting a comprensive law for unoraganised workers, the move to privatise the PSUs, the blatant violation of labour laws and the skyrocketing price rise of essential commodities.

He said the ongoing session of AITUC general council in Chennai was finding ways and means on how to further intensify the struggle on the EPF issue.

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