Court suspends disbandment of biggest teachers’ union

By Suk Gee-hyun
  • Published : Nov 13, 2013 - 19:52
  • Updated : Nov 13, 2013 - 19:52
The Seoul Administrative Court on Wednesday temporarily invalidated the government’s decision to deregister the country’s largest teachers’ union last month.

The Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union on Oct 24 filed a lawsuit and preliminary injunction against the Education Ministry’s recent move to deprive it of legal status as a union for refusing a government order to exclude dismissed teachers from its membership.

The court accepted the injunction request, allowing the progressive union to retain its rights.

“This is just a temporary measure until the court makes its first verdict. This (injunction) does not mean the government’s decision was illegitimate,” Employment and Labor Ministry spokeswoman Park Sung-hee said Wednesday.

The ruling is expected to be made before summer, she added.

It is likely that the court accepted the union’s claim that the decision will damage the KTU members and their activities as a labor union, and also affect mediation in future labor disputes.

“It is not unusual for the court to announce a suspension of execution when a concrete compensation measure has not been found. We respect the court’s decision and will actively defend the government’s position throughout the lawsuit,” Park said.

In March, the ministry ordered the union to amend its constitution to ban dismissed and retired teachers from membership, saying that it violates the country’s labor law.

The KTU resisted against the order for months until the ministry gave an ultimatum to deregister the union unless it changes its constitution by Oct. 23.

The trade union has been staging protests against the ministry and government, saying that depriving its legal status was in “complete ignorance” of human rights, and that authorities are stripping it of the rights it has had for 14 years as a legal union.

By Suk Gee-hyun (