The Unravelling of SGPC’s Newly Formed Union – A Tale of Division or Misunderstanding?

by Parminder Singh Sodhi

Just 10 days into its existence, the fledgling SGPC Employees Union, the brainchild of some disenchanted employees, is already exhibiting signs of a slow crumble.

Among the first to exit this newborn alliance was Gurpreet Singh, additional manager of the Golden Temple and the senior vice-president of the union. Singh’s departure has sparked rumors of a domino effect that might push more office-bearers and members to distance themselves from the union.

Singh’s exit is doubly significant given that he and union president Gurinder Singh Bhoma were recently subject to transfer orders. While Singh was transferred to Hapur, Uttar Pradesh, Bhoma was temporarily shifted to Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. Singh cited a belated understanding of the divergence between the union activities and the ethics of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) as his reason for departure.

Despite this setback, Bhoma, an accounts clerk at the SGPC headquarters, remains undeterred. He maintains that the union was established as a peaceful platform for employees to raise their concerns, without any intention to harm the SGPC’s reputation.

Singh’s resignation has left Bhoma puzzled and speculating, suggesting that Singh might have been a soft target owing to his recent suspension over the Golden Temple kitchen leftover misappropriation case.

In an unprecedented move in the SGPC’s 103-year-old history, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Employees Union was officially recognized by the Registrar, Trade Union, Punjab, on July 17, 2023.

However, SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami has hinted at some foul play. During the launch of the SGPC’s YouTube channel on July 23, Dhami alleged that the AAP-led state government has been meddling with the SGPC’s affairs, encouraging its employees to form a union and disrupt the functioning of the SGPC.

The SGPC, with the majority of its members belonging to the SAD led by Sukhbir Singh Badal, now finds itself grappling with this novel situation. It remains to be seen whether the organization can navigate these troubled waters or if the newly-formed union is destined for disintegration.

As events unfold, we can only hope that the essence of the SGPC remains intact, and the drama surrounding this newly formed union resolves itself in the best interests of all involved.

Parminder Singh Sodhi

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