Trade unions on Tuesday walked out of a meeting of EPFO trustees protesting against the governments decision to appropriate unclaimed PF money for funding senior citizens welfare schemes.
Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, who was chairing the meeting of the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) sought to calm down the tempers by assuring them that he would take up the matter with concerned ministers and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
CBT is the apex decision making body of EPFO.
Soon after the supplementary agenda item on notification regarding Senior Citizen Welfare Fund was circulated for information of trustees, the trade union members walked out of the meeting in protest against the governments decision.
As per the notification, "any credit balance in any of the account under the following scheme (including EPF scheme) remaining unclaimed for a period of seven years from date of its declaration as an inoperative account shall be transferred by the respective institutions (including EPFO) holding them to the Fund (Senior Citizen Welfare Fund)."
Dattatreya too left the meeting midway and approached the trade union representatives to pacify them and requested them to join again.
The agitated trade union representatives told the minister that the notification of the government is not legally tenable and would not stand for long in the Supreme Court.
They also said it was not appropriate for the government to take away unclaimed funds of EPFO for funding their welfare schemes as this money belongs to subscribers who can claim it at any point of time.
Trade union representatives asked the minister to take up the issue with government and demanded that the CBT should move the Supreme Court to get the relief in case it is not resolved.
The representative rejoined the CBT meeting, after the assurance by the minister.
"We have walked out of the CBT meeting today after they circulated a notification by Finance Ministry saying that a fund would be created from credit balance remaining in the unclaimed PF accounts" All India Trade Union Congress Secretary D L Sachdev said.
Another EPFO trustee and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh member P J Banasure said the issue has been deliberated upon in the Finance, Audit and Investment Committee (FAIC) meeting of the EPFO and it has already rejected the proposal to use unclaimed EPF money for creation of any senior citizen welfare fund.
FAIC had discussed the proposal after PMO wrote a letter in this regard to EPFO.