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Wednesday, Aug 11, 2004

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Left TUs to protest against EPF rate cut

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Aug. 10

The Left trade unions would meet to chalk out a combined strategy for nationwide protest against reduction in the rate of interest payable on employees' provident fund deposits. However, the formal date is yet to be finalised.

The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on Monday approved an interim rate of 8.5 per cent for the current financial year. This is one percentage point less than the final rate of 9.5 per cent approved by the CBT for fiscal 2003-04.

According to a senior Left leader, who is also a member of the CBT, the meeting will discuss the ways of protest and is likely to focus on having a countrywide industrial strike.

Meanwhile, the trade unions in the country's banking and insurance sector have announced plans to hold a national protest day on August 20.

The CPI (M), in a statement issued here on Tuesday stated that, ``it is unfortunate that the UPA Government continues with the patently anti-worker policies of the previous NDA regime.''

``It is also regrettable that it is departing from the earlier tradition of the CBT to take decision only by way of consensus. This time a decision has been taken on the basis of a majority bypassing the protests of the representatives of the central trade unions,'' the party said.

The CPI, in a statement, said that the Government should initiate a dialogue with the trade unions for an amicable solution. The party also declared its plan to take up the issue in the next meeting of the coordination committee set up by the Government and the Left parties.

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