NEW DELHI: A day before nationwide protest by trade unions against lowering of EPF interest rate, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya today said that he will discuss the issue with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Trade Unions will go on a day long protest tomorrow to oppose the Finance Ministry decision to ratify 8.7 per cent EPF interest rate for 2015-16, which is lower than 8.8 per cent decided by the retirement fund body EPFO.
"My ministry is examining and shortly we are going to have a sitting with the Finance Minister. Then we will have a dialogue and see that what solution can come out," Dattatreya told reporters at an industry event.
The minister further said: "Now in this situation, I asked my Central Provident Fund Commissioner to get all the reports.
Last year we have given 8.75 per cent. So as chairman of the CBT taking a consensus view CBT has taken a decision of giving 8.8 per cent. It has been forwarded to Finance Ministry."
Asked why was finance ministry not considering labour ministry's opinion, he said: "finance is an advisory one. It will ultimately be the government of India. My ministry and I as Central Board of Trustees Chairman are also part of the government...will sit together and see that the problem will be solved."
On alleged interference of Finance Ministry in working of the EPFO, he said: "No no, ultimately it is (just) advice of the Finance Ministry... Finance Ministry is not entangled in this issue. The thing is that they are advising because interest rates are coming down."
When asked what is his opinion on the issue, "the CBT and as its head, CBT has given its opinion".
However, the central trade unions are going ahead with their protest tomorrow against the Finance Ministry's EPF interest rate ratification at 8.7 per cent.
"This is for information that the Delhi Units of Central Trade Unions i.e. AITUC, INTUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, SEWA, AICCTU, UTUC, LPF and MEC have decided to organise jointly a protest Dharna on April 29, 2016 against the Finance Minister for reducing in EPF interest rate ignoring unanimous decision of tripartite CBT," said a press release by All India Trade Union Congress.
It further said, "This protest from all Central Trade Unions is to condemn such arrogant, anti-worker approach of the Central Government.