Battle brewing between granthi and NZ Sikh body

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A brewing battle between a granthi and a gurdwara has made it into the at least one New Zealand newspaper. There are claims and counter-claims from both sides, including accusations of being grossly underpaid and defrauding.

In a lengthy report published yesterday (5 MArch 2019), Stuff reported that an Indian preacher has accused his former employer, the Sikh Sangat NZ Trust, of exploitation and wrongful dismissal.

“He claimed he was grossly underpaid, made to live in cell-like conditions at a Rotorua temple, denied annual leave to visit his wife in India, then fired over a falsified affair with a married templegoer. Last week Kultar Singh, 34, filed a police complaint against the trust’s founder and secretary alleging they had made threats on his life.

“Sikh Sangat NZ Trust secretary Sukhpreet Singh has denied all allegations. He in turn filed a police complaint against Kultar Singh claiming the priest had defrauded the trust and stolen more than $20,000 of cash donations from the temple,” according to the report.

It added that Kultar, who came to New Zealand via another organisation in 2015 to work as a granthi, had transferred in 2016 to a student visa and embarked on an English language course.

The Sikh Sangat NZ Trust then offered Kultar Singh a job at its gurdwara in Rotorua starting in August 2017.

You can read the story, ‘Sikh priest claims he was exploited and slandered by Kiwi boss‘, here

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Gurdwara Management Committees [GMC] should realize that SEWADARS may be legally equated to them as EMPLOYEES and thus subject of Employment Laws and not volunteers and allowances paid to them not being wages or income [for tax purposes].
    Thus Granthis in Malaysia may be appropriately referred to as employees and subject to minimum wages-EPF-SOCSO dues. Further if they are foreigners then they may also be subject to immigration and Income tax laws.
    GMC of one Gurdwara in K Lumpur dismissed its local Granthi about four decades ago who had been in service for over thirty years without any financial compensation. The Granthi objected and requested for at least RM30K as gratuity for his past services which was rejected by GMC. The Granthi sought my advise and I advised him to refer to Labor Department and also EPF for non contribution but wait to give me opportunity to speak to GMC which he agreed. Then a white knight came in and when I appraised him of of the situation and the adverse impact on the reputation of the Gurdwara and Sikh community he agreed with my views. RESULT HE OFFERED TO PAY FROM HIS OWN POCKET THE GRANTHI RM35K TO SETTLE THE DISPUTE TO WHICH THE GRANTHI AGREED.
    Result is that from thereon the GMC of some Gurdwaras started classifying Granthis and some sewadars as employees and paid wages with contributions to EPF/SOCSO where applicable. However there still could be some GMC who may not be treating their Granthis and/or sewadars as emplyees and may be at risk of contravening local laws.
    As regards foreign parcharaks/ragis/granthis most may be professionals and thus subject to not only Immigration but also Income-Tax laws. Thus it is humbly suggested that this be cleared with the advise of tax experts who include some Sikhs who are among the leading tax experts.
    This is important not only for future but especially when many foreign parcharaks/ragis are coming to Malaysia for the 550th Anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev J. Best to be prevent a problem before is arises.

    Gur Fateh

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