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Protests break out outside Delhi Golf Club after 66 employees laid off

Protests break out outside Delhi Golf Club after 66 employees laid off

The Bridge Desk

Published: 2 Jun 2020 7:28 AM GMT

Fresh protests break out in front of the Delhi Golf CLub on Tuesday morning as the elite club lays off 66 due to pressures on earning amid the coronavirus lockdown, the management of the club said. The club is one of India's most exclusive ones, with a waiting list of up to 25 years. The members include top bureaucrats such as Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and politicians such as Rajiv Pratap Rudy, former Vice President Hamid Ansari and former cricketer Kapil Dev. In the past, Congress leader Kamal Nath, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and BJP leaders Ravi Shankar Prasad and Arun Jaitley were also members of the club.

The Delhi Golf Club has shut its food and beverage division, citing a high wage bill and “massive losses” over the past few years. Many of the kitchen staff members and seven managers who have been laid off held a protest on Sunday outside the club, demanding that they should be given their jobs back.

When the retrenchment was being considered, former Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, who is also a member of the club, had opposed the move and in a letter to the club's president he said, "In the face of COVID-19, when the country is faced with a crisis of biblical proportions, should we move in this direction? At this time the staff will not gain any employment."

While the employees claimed the management did not inform them well in advance about the sackings, the management said the employees had been getting extremely high wages and refused to negotiate when revenues dipped.

In an earlier interview with The Indian Express, Delhi Golf Club president R S Bedi had said, the decision was taken after several meetings with staff regarding the wage bill. “We took the final decision on May 25 after several meetings with the staff of the division. The division’s salary bill is huge and the club is haemorrhaging money. Every five years, wage revisions are done and the process was due to be completed by March 2020. We had spoken to staff and told them the club is in a bad financial state because of the wage bill and had sought a helping hand. If we continue with current wages, the club won’t be able to function beyond 3-4 years. Amid the pandemic and lockdown, revenue has been zero but wages, which amount to Rs 60-65 lakh per month for the staff, have been paid.” The Club now plans to outsource the service.

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