A progressive teachers’ group pledged Tuesday to fight the government’s order to expel fired teachers or risk losing its status as a full-fledged trade union.
The Ministry of Employment and Labor on Monday sent a one-month ultimatum to the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union to change a contentious bylaw which allows dismissed teachers to be members.
Unless the group complies with the order by Oct. 23, the ministry said it would be deprived of its rights as a trade union, including the power to conduct collective bargaining and its entitlement to state subsidies worth 5 billion won (4.6 million) a year.
The current labor law qualifies only currently employed persons as union members. The progressive union has 20 fired workers as members.
The union rejected the same order previously in 2010 and 2012.
In a news conference Tuesday, the group said leaders of the union would go on a hunger strike Thursday and hold a delegate convention Saturday to discuss their future course of action.
Its leader Kim Jeong-hun called the government’s action “more political oppression following Unified Progressive Party lawmaker Lee Seok-ki’s treason allegation.”
It is also reviewing plans to file legal suits and appeal to political parties and the International Labor Organization against the government order. It also will consider having its 60,000 members take collective leave and stage massive rallies in Seoul.
By Suk Gee-hyun (email@example.com