The Hon’ble Bandaru Dattatreya M. P.
Union Minister of Labour and Employment
19 April 2016
Dear Mr. Dattatreya,
The New Trade Union Initiative calls upon the Government of India to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its Gazette Notification of 10 February 2016 No.G.S.R.158(E) for amendment in Paragraph 68NN, 68 O and 69 and introduction of new paragraph 68 NNNN in the Employees Provident Fund Scheme 1952. We make this call on behalf of our membership throughout the country and in particular on behalf of the membership of our affiliate the Garment and Textile Workers Union in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
The vast majority of workers do not have uninterrupted employment until the age of retirement. The majority of workers in industries, such as the garment manufacturing, receive intermittent employment typically for no more than 10 or 15 years. In the absence of any possibility of life-time employment or provision for an unemployment benefit, workers have no choice but to rely on their retirement funds to survive between jobs and hence are forced to withdraw their PF monies. Further, workers today are being increasingly victimised by employer for increased productivity and therefore growing intensity of work, for resisting harassment on the shopfloor, including sexual harassment, and for joining a trade union. PF monies come handy when workers are illegally terminated on alleged disciplinary grounds, and find it difficult to get another job in the industry or in the area. This often forces workers, who once came to the city looking for a job, back to their homes in rural areas or to other areas in search of jobs.
Under these circumstances, workers must enjoy the continued and inalienable right to withdraw their earned EPF monies so long as government is unable to put in place public policy that guarantees full employment or, at the very least, guarantees a minimum wage linked unemployment allowance. Until such time as government is able to put in place these guarantees, government must not assume for itself the right to decide when a worker can withdraw earned EPF monies especially upon the loss of employment.
The workers of Bengaluru’s garment factories have spoken very clearly. What they have said is a unambiguous reflection of the Government of India’s inability to understand and recognise the condition of the country’s working class and therefore their needs. The principal responsibility of maintaining industrial peace rests with the Government of India. Government has through its unilateral actions caused a monumental disruption of industrial peace. The paramount responsibility of government is act in the interest of the country’s citizens and not in the interest of sectional corporate interests. Hence the NTUI calls upon government to repeal the above mentioned notification.
New Trade Union Initiative