Claiming they are owed salary arrears since 2005 running into lakhs of rupees, around 50 teachers of different Catholic schools in the city protested at the office of the Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE) in Colaba on Thursday. The ABE governs around 150 Catholic schools across the city.
The teachers, who claim they are owed dues, are all primary school teachers. The primary sections are unaided, with salaries paid through the school itself.
"Every time we talk to our school managements on the arrears, they send us to the ABE, which in turn asks us to go to the management. They are just passing the buck," said a teacher at a Malad school. "The schools have raised their fees but they are refusing to give us our dues."
The teachers said that they have not been paid arrears for several years and are still being paid as per the Fourth Pay Commission scales, instead of the Sixth Pay Commission scales. They estimate that they are owed more than Rs5 lakh each, in total, since 2005. According to teachers, more than 2,000 primary school teachers are affected.
Father Gregory Lobo, head of the ABE, admitted that more than 2,000 teachers had not been paid but added that it was the responsibility of the school managements to pay them. "They should have told me every year, they are telling me about the arrears only now," he said. "They want me to issue a directive on releasing the salaries, but I can't do that. The bishop has to decide."
The teachers will meet Bishop Agnelo Gracias in Goregaon on Friday to voice their grievances.