The members of the Udupi district unit of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) took out a rally demanding better facilities to pensioners here on Friday.

The rally began from the service bus-stand and reached the Provident Fund Office here, where the members staged a dharna.

In a memorandum addressed to Union Minister for Labour and Employment Mallikarjuna Kharge and submitted to the Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner, general secretary of the district unit of CITU P. Vishwanath Rai said the CITU had been long urging the Employees Provident Fund Organisation Trust to retain and continue the benefits introduced through Employees' Pension Scheme, 1995. It had been seeking improvements in the benefits available under the same scheme.

Nearly 80 per cent of pensioners were getting less than Rs. 500 a month. The minimum pension payable was unbelievably as low as Rs. 50 a month. In the case of contract workers, the labour contractors were not remitting provident fund contributions collected from the workers to the Provident Fund (P.F.) Organisation.

The labour contractors were enrolling themselves at far off places and not at the actual place of work . This was causing a lot of inconvenience to the workers in getting benefits available to them under the P.F. Scheme.

Demands

Mr. Rai said that the minimum pension payable should be increased to Rs. 1,000 per month as recommended by the Committee of Experts. The government should contribute 7 per cent as its share to the Employees Pension Fund. The workers should get 20.33 per cent of the total contribution made by the employer and employees. Monthly pension should be increased at the rate of 3 per cent per annum to compensate for rise in prices.

The benefit of commutation, which had been withdrawn, should be restored. The percentage of reduction in reduced pension should be re-fixed at 3 per cent only. The provident fund and pension funds should not be diverted for investment in share market.

Keywords: CITU protests

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