A large number of beedi workers and contractors on Tuesday protested before the Regional Office of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation demanding better enforcement of Provident Fund (PF) Act.

The protest was held jointly by the South Canara Udupi Zilla Beedi Contractors Union and the Karnataka Rajya Beedi Contractors Union.

J. Ibrahim, general secretary of the South Canara Zilla Beedi Contractors Union, said enforcement officers of the PF organisation had failed to check irregularity on the part of beedi companies in payment of their contribution to the Provident Fund.

Mr. Ibrahim said beedi companies were showing in their books that beedi worker worked only for two days a week while they would have worked for many more days. Thus, the companies were contributing their share to PF only for two days. Mr. Ibrahim said such actions by beedi company owners had led to a decrease in the provident fund that the workers were getting. “The Provident Fund that a retired worker is getting is between Rs. 15 and Rs. 60 a month. We are fighting for monthly PF of Rs. 1,000.”

Mr. Ibrahim said the PF enforcement officers had not been visiting the beedi companies to check such irregularities. “Officers were doing it five years ago. Of late, we have not seen them taking any action,” he said. President of South Canara Zilla Beedi Contractors Union M. Surendra Shetty said the PF Commissioner should take action against erring beedi companies.

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