A large number of employees of bars and pubs in Gurgaon, who were facing the axe after the Supreme Court’s ban on liquor sale, returned to work on Thursday evening at the CyberHub.
More than 1,400 employees including general managers, managers, stewards, utility staff and others were asked to leave after the apex court banned the sale of liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways.
However, the decision of the excise department to allow pubs in CyberHub to serve liquor again saved these employees from going jobless.
The pub owners have also decided to help the employees by giving them salaries for half a month despite the lack of business.
Before the ban came into effect, each restaurant had as many as 40 employees. After the ruling, the staff strength had been reduced to just five per outlet. While many suspended operations temporarily, the rest were served notices by their respective employers in the light of the reduced footfall.
CyberHub, which once used to be a favourite haunt for party-goers and pub-hoppers and drew a footfall of 45,000 on weekends, had seen a turnout of fewer than 1,000 post the ban on liquor sale.
However, in a turnaround in their fortunes, the measuring exercise by a joint team comprising excise officials, police and officials from other departments saved them from going out of business.
“We are happy that our jobs have been saved. We were hopeful of things being sorted out and hence did not move out of the city. We had been waiting for our employers to call us back. We reached our outlets in half-an-hour after getting the news,” Man Bahadur, a steward at a CyberHub pub, said.
The employees had tried getting jobs in other industries, but were offered packages that were no match to what they had been earning before. Most preferred to wait and watch for another month.
“It was a tough phase for us. We had our fingers crossed and kept waiting for the ban to be lifted. Finally, our prayers were heard,” Ganag Raut, another steward of a CyberHub pub, said.
The employees were asked to leave in March and look out for other options. Many, who hail from Nepal and other states, had decided to return as there were not enough vacancies in the liquor industry and the salary offered was not enticing enough.
“There were no jobs in the hotel industry and it would have been impossible to survive in Gurgaon and Delhi. I was unable to bear my children’s academic expenses, house rent and other expenses. Had our jobs not been saved, we would have been in dire straits,” Aneesh Ahmad, a chef at a pub, said.
The corporate crowd also hailed the opening of their favourite bars and pubs.
CyberHub was back in party mood on Friday and the celebrations, one suspects, will continue into the weekend and beyond.