Even as parents of the Tree House playgroup in Mumbai are complaining against the management for allegedly shutting down the centres overnight, similar anxieties have engulfed parents, teachers and staffers of many centres in Pune. In many parts of the city, centres announced that they will be shut for a few days, sparking rumours of an imminent shutdown.
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Ketaki Ghole, centre head of the Tree House playgroup at Salisbury Park, said none of the employees had been paid in months and the management had not even paid the rent for nine months.
“I have been told by the landlady that she won’t allow the playgroup to open after Christmas vacations, which starts on December 23 and ends on January 2. We have 53 students… I am not sure if the school will continue to function after the vacations. We kept the playgroup shut on Friday and tried to warn the management, but no one seemed to care. Earlier, we used to get calls from the Mumbai head office daily, but no one is bothering to keep up any communication now,” she said.
On Thursday, all centre heads will meet to discuss the issue, said Ghole.
Deepika Chaitanya, centre head of Dhayari Samruddhi, which has 130 children, said the playgroup has been facing issues since April. “We were promised that the issues would get sorted within the next two to three months. They talked about a merger and said that accounts were frozen for auditing purposes. Since September, we have not received our salaries at al… even the voucher amount, which we spent from our pockets to run the centre for five months, has not been reimbursed. I resigned on December 2 but no one has bothered to respond,” she said.
Yet another centre head said many of them are planning to complain because they haven’t been paid their salaries for months.
“After taking permission from the parents concerned, we closed our branches for three days to warn the management. For two months, we were neither paid any salaries nor was the rent paid. Even I have tendered my resignation,” said the employee.
Jagruti Nandedkar, who has been working as the centre head at Dhayari said, “No salaries have been paid since three months… rents have not been paid for six months….”
The centre heads also don’t know who to approach to resolve the issue, as the senior management has not responded to their calls or requests. “The biggest problem is that even when we are continuously sending mails and calls, no one is responding… ,” she said.
Given the recent developments, parents have also started feeling jittery. One of the parents, from the centre at the Fergusson College Road branch, said problems began six months ago when a new teacher was appointed every week. “We complained and even asked for a refund. That time, they assured us and then started sending a teacher from the main Karve Road branch. But yesterday, they shut down the branch at Fergusson College Road and now we are hearing rumours about branches being shut down in Mumbai,” said the parent.
Another parent said that teachers have said that they will only teach till November 23. Despite repeated attempts to contact senior management of Tree House school, there was no response.