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Sikh temple volunteer in UK wins right to be paid minimum wage

London , Tue, 21 Feb 2012 ANI

London, Feb 21 (ANI): A Sikh temple volunteer in Britain, who used to receive 50 pounds a week from the donations of worshippers, has now won the right to be paid a minimum wage.


Tejinder Singh, who served as the granthi, or priest, at Bristol's Sikh temple for seven years until 2009, claimed at a tribunal last year that even though he had agreed to act as a volunteer, he should have been paid the minimum wage, which is currently set at 6.08 pounds an hour.


He had accepted free accommodation from the temple for himself and his wife, and the temple gave him 50 pounds a week from the donations of worshippers for performing prayers and blessings.


The decision in Singh's favour means religious organisations, charities and groups which depend completely on voluntary help, can now be asked to pay a salary to thousands of people they believed were giving their help for free, The Daily Mail reports.


The temple managers earlier said that treating Singh as a paid worker would conflict with principles of 'voluntarism and a traditional interpretation and application of the Sikh scriptures.'


According to the paper, last year, the tribunal said that Singh did not qualify as a worker.


But at the Employment Appeal Tribunal Justice Beatson said it had been wrong, and send the case back to the same tribunal to be reconsidered.


The Judge said that the tribunal had made an error and Singh should not have been considered among the temple office-holders who were required to work without pay. (ANI)


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