Published : 2013-10-23 19:45
Updated : 2013-10-23 19:45
The government’s move leading to the delegalization of the country’s largest teachers’ union could infringe upon its freedom of association, the head of the human rights watchdog said Tuesday.
“We already advised the government that weaker disciplinary action should be considered in this case,” Hyun Byung-chul, the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, said in a statement.
Hyun’s statement was released the day before the deadline of the ultimatum provided by the Labor Ministry, which stated that the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union should amend its constitution to prohibit membership to dismissed and retired teachers, and thus be consistent with the applicable law.
The union was set to automatically forfeit its legal status if it does not accept the government’s order by midnight.
“Depriving the union of its status as a legal trade union is an excessive measure that breaches the union’s right of collective organization,” Hyun added.
The progressive teacher’s group has been in a fierce fight with the government over their recognition of dismissed teachers as members. The union is expected to suffer internal confusion as well as loss of subsidized rent fees for its regional offices and legitimate negotiation rights with schools once it is scrapped of its legal status.
Last weekend, about 68.5 percent of participants approved a proposal to disobey the government’s order to oust dismissed teachers. The union currently has 22 dismissed teachers as members.
The group also announced Monday that it will file a petition to the U.N. Human Rights Council and International Labor Organization in protest to what they claimed was the government’s suppression.
“The Park Geun-hye administration is finally entering the path to destroying democracy,” Kim Jeong-hoon, KTU president, said in a press conference on Wednesday.