The Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA) has appealed to the centre to withdraw an amendment which barred employees from withdrawing the employers’ contribution to provident fund before 58 years of age.
In a letter to labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya, TEA president A Sakthivel said that the amendment to EPF withdrawal rules has triggered a sense of uneasiness in Tirupur knitwear garment cluster, which employs four lakh workers directly, 70 per cent of whom are women.
Under the amendment, employees can withdraw the PF account from their own total contribution including interest thereon up to the date and the employers’ contribution can be withdrawn only after attaining of the age of 58 years.
Sakthivel said women normally join the garment units at the age of 18 and leave by the time they are 23 mainly to get married and settle down.
“This (the amendment) has actually created an alarming situation in Tirupur and all these girls were now having apprehension that they would not get the employer s PF contribution immediately and they have to wait for till they attain the age of 58 years,” Shaktivel said.
The TEA is also worried that the amendment can potentially lead to a labour exodus that could cripple the garment industry. Many workers from Kerala and other states currently work in Tirupur’s garment units.
“We actually fear that the notification may trigger for exodus of labour and in such scenario, the garment exporting units would not be in a position to immediately fill up the labour shortage gap,” he said.
Given the alarming situation that the notification has created, Sakthivel requested the labour minister to immediately remove the condition underlined by the amendment and allow the workers to get employer’s contribution also while they leave a unit.