Tribunal rules Derby granthis unfairly dismissed

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Derby Telegraph | UK| Asia Samachar | 27 April 2015
Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara Sahib, Derby - PHOTO FROM GURDWARA FACEBOOK PAGE
Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara Sahib, Derby – PHOTO FROM GURDWARA FACEBOOK PAGE

FOUR “vulnerable” priests at a Sikh temple in Derby who were paid only £2 an hour have won an industrial tribunal ruling, with the help of a union.

Two of the men, who all worked at a temple in Normanton, quit after they were disciplined when they complained about the wages.

The tribal ruled they had been, in effect, unfairly dismissed, and also that all four men should be given back-pay which could amount to thousands of pounds.

David Jeffery, the Derby-based officer for Unite, which represented the four priests, said: “These men were particularly vulnerable and it was very important that we protected them and made sure justice was done for them.

“This is a significant ruling by the tribunal judge. For a period of around two years these men were only being paid £2 an hour and were working between 50 and 60 hours a week at the temple.
“When one of them challenged the committee he was suspended and a second priest was given a written warning for talking to the committee in a derogatory manner.”

Mr Jeffery said the priests at the Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara temple came to Unite after being advised by members of the congregation they should be being paid the minimum wage, which currently stands at £6.50 an hour.

He said they also cited a previous case that saw a tribunal rule in favour of a Sikh priest in Bristol who was being paid £50 a week, claiming their own case mirrored his.

Following days of discussion at the tribunal, the judge found in favour of the four priests.

The Derby Telegraph met with committee members at the Gurdwara to discuss the result of the tribunal.

They said the four priests were contracted to work 20 hours a week and they were paid between £120 and £135 per week but that donation money from the congregation topped their wages up to “more than £400 per week”.

However, that additional money was not put through the temple’s accounts, which explained the apparently low wages.

They said: “We accept the tribunal’s ruling but we are very disappointed that it has come to this situation.

“We now have financial measures in place to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”

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