New Delhi [India], June 2 (ANI): It's not a heartless club, it has a heart and we tried to do everything we could to salvage the situation and avoid retrenchment, says Major (Retired) Ravinder Singh Bedi, President of Delhi Golf Club.
As retrenched employees of beverage unit of Delhi Golf Club stage protest outside the premises, the club maintains it did all it could to avoid closing down of Food and Beverages unit of the club by negotiating the expenditure it incurred as wage bill.
"We have retrenched 59 of our staff from Food and Beverages. Our article of association is clear on our mandate which is to work for the promotion of golf and any other service is just peripheral. Our entire revenue comes because of golf operation- be it subscription, entry and guest fees so this revenue should be ploughed back into it. F&B was incurring huge losses and we could not have sustained beyond four years if we kept on paying huge wage bills," said Bedi.
While COVID-19 pandemic was just a catalyst, it was in 2015 that financial troubles began. Bedi informs that under certain wage agreement with staff in 2015 wages went up by two and a half times.
"It is unheard in any institutions. We had multiple meetings with the staff. I personally have addressed the entire staff. I had appealed and pleaded with staff that we will go bankrupt in 4 years. We wanted to help," said Bedi.
Bedi claims that negotiating committees from employees didn't turn up for the penultimate meeting and blackmailed them into paying bonuses which employees are not entitled to but management paid the bonuses nonetheless
"On April 24 we had a board meeting and looking at the evolving situation under COVID-19 spread we still decided to give them a chance. On May 25, they came and said they will not take increments but will not take a wage cut. We proposed 25-30 per cent of wage cut to sustain ourselves," added Bedi.
According to Delhi Golf Club, it has paid out severance of Rs 10 crores approximately and Rs 1 crore more to 7 executives.
However, even retrenchment hasn't made the management to turn its back on former employees. The President has asked the selection committee tasked to choose a vendor to cater to food and beverages to give priority of former employees of the club, albeit on the vendor's conditions.
"The rehabilitation plan is in place and vendor has to give priority to those who have worked here. We have set up a help desk to secure loans through MSME schemes. Our MP has agreed. She offered skill training at the cost of government," said Bedi who claims that golf club being rich is just a perception.
"The corpus of the club is Rs 29 to 30 cores. There is another money that belongs to members. It's their application money. If they demand it back we have to give it back to them. We have it in reserves that we can't use," reasoned the President of the club.
The club has been helping Caddies financially as well.
"They are the worst impacted. They too could have gone back had we not asked members to contribute Rs 500 each and give it to caddies welfare trust and I am one of the trustees. We have transferred Rs 42 lakhs in account of caddies," said Bedi. (ANI)