Delhi Golf Club Sacks Staff Amid Pandemic, Bans India’s Top Star
Delhi’s elite DGC is in the middle of controversies after sacking their F&B staff & banning India’s number 1 golfer.
(Edited by Purnendu Pritam)
"We have given our youth to this club, some have worked here for the last 35 years. But now, when we are old and no one can get a job anywhere else, we have been thrown out by them," says a former member of Delhi’s elite Delhi Golf Club’s Food and Beverage (F&B) staff who was sacked on 28 May.
A total of 59 employees, comprising the entire F&B department, were retrenched by the south Delhi club, and the President, Maj RS Bedi (Retd.), insists they had no other option after the staff members refused to negotiate a salary cut. According to him, the total wages of the 59 employees amounted to Rs 50 lakh a month with the head cook earning Rs 1.01 lakh, supervisor-kitchen Rs 91,452, waiter Rs 87,356, masalchi Rs 60,288 and supervisor Rs 83,585.
The employees though, deny both claims -- of the collectively high salaries and of the negotiations.
“It is possible that there are 8-10 people who had high salaries, it’s possible the management feels that way. We told the management that we should sit together and we agreed to make adjustments but they didn’t listen to us,” says Ravi Pandey.
“The rest, about 80 percent staff, earn about Rs 40,000-45,000 a month. It’s not higher than that. We have payslips. President Bedi is saying whatever he pleases,” adds Madan Singh Kaida.
He also asked, "If there’s no profits, increase the pricing, why blame the workers?"
“The biggest point is pricing. Do we decide the prices of dishes or what is purchased from outside? If the prices (at the restaurants) are less, then the management should assess things and increase the prices according to the market and compete with others. We are not responsible for their loss, we are just workers,” he said.
Club Members Protest Sackings
While the club’s Governing Council informed all members of the decision to retrench the staff and invite tenders for outsourcing of the F&B department, they also mentioned that a total of Rs 11 crore was paid as ‘full and final settlement’ to the 59 workers.
However many emails suggest not all members were happy with the decision to let go of staff members most had known for decades, especially at a time when the economy is struggling and the F&B industry has taken a big hit. Some even made personal attacks at the president with statements such as “DGC is not a military formation... nor is it a communist regime” while urging the Governing Council to hold a General Body Meeting with all members to discuss the sacking of the staff.
Refusing to call a GBM on a matter that he feels has already been closed, the club’s President however did answer back at his critics. “He is trying to hit below the belt for my army career and I think that’s the basest and most crass thing that one can say. One can make one’s point in many ways, but to put it in this manner, I think there cannot be anything more crass than this,” he said.
“He wants to hit out at me - there are other reasons for that. But, this is not the way to put it. I don’t want to go into too much detail. For one reason or another, they have taken it upon themselves to say one thing or another,” he added.
India’s Number 1 Golfer Banned From DGC
The club’s protesting staff outside the premises’ gates aren't the only ones not being allowed inside.
India’s number one golfer Rashid Khan, who has been recommended for the Arjuna Award this year, continues to be banned from the club following allegations of misbehaviour by the club’s voted committee.
India’s number one pick for the Tokyo Olympics has now written to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Sports Authority of India (SAI) and also notified Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking them to intervene and help him get some training time after months spent indoors during lockdown.
“Number one golfer in India, who has struggled to reach this level… is not allowed to enter the golf course. And, you have banned him for his lifetime without giving him any reason,” says Rashid Khan to The Quint while also talking about the alleged bad treatment meted out to him by the club when he was allowed on the greens. “I used to use the caddy canteen to eat, caddy restroom for everything else,” he adds.
The golfer has been banned since 2018 and was taken to the Tughlaq Road police station last year after protesting their refusal to let him enter and train.
“He has gone against the club in complete arrogance to say whatever he likes to, wherever he wants to. The media, press conferences, he’s gone to court against the club. Even when he wrote to us, he wrote on behalf of 14 other people whom we will never admit in this club because they’re gangsters. They’ve threatened us, they’re gheraoed me. I’m an old man, in the middle of the summer. In 40 degrees I’m sitting in my car and they won’t let me out of the club,” says the club’s president talking about why, despite Rashid’s attempts, they are refusing to relent.
Rashid, a two-time Asian Tour winner, however denies all the claims and has maintained the club needs to show video evidence to back their claims and reasons for suspending him.
“I want to ask Mr Bedi whether he can prove the allegations against me. I’m sure there are cameras in and around the golf course. How am I supposed to jump on his car when I wasn’t there? And if it’s necessary, please check my record on the Asian Tour as well as the Indian Tour and see if I have ever misbehaved,” he told The Quint.
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