Korean Teachers Union under attack

Show solidarity with the South Korean teachers’ union, the KTU

On 8 October Education International (EI) launched an urgent appeal calling on all member unions to write to the authorities of South Korea, requesting that they do not cancel the registration of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (KTU).

The South Korean Government has given the KTU an ultimatum that it will deregister, thus making unlawful, the union unless it amends its constitution to ban dismissed and retired teachers from being members.

KTU’s constitution currently allows dismissed workers to remain members of the union. This is important given that a number of members of the KTU were dismissed during the previous administration for activities that included expressing their opinion on the government’s education policy or for donations to progressive political parties. The fact that they were dismissed for this is questionable under international law. Presently, those dismissed members are therefore being supported by the KTU.

The South Korean authorities are claiming that the KTU’s constitution does not comply with existing legislation but the legislation and actions of the South Korean Government have been condemned by, among others, the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It is clear that this is an attempt by the South Korean Government to interfere in the activities of trade unions. The KTU have asked for the support of the international community.

This attack on the rights of trade unions in South Korea has direct parallels with attacks on trade unions in other countries, including here in the UK. It is clear that governments, including the UK Coalition Government, are unwilling to accept challenges to current orthodoxy and are unwilling to be involved with discussions or debates on progressive issues.

In the UK, trade unions are coming under attack. Where these attacks on trade unions and public services are happening in other countries, it is important that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues across the globe in defence of public quality education and the rights of teachers to organise.

What you can do

Read further information and the links on the NASUWT appeal page and send a message to the South Korean authorities condemning this action.

Write to your MP highlighting your concerns about the nature and scale of the attacks on trade unions both in the UK and across the world.

Dr Patrick Roach

Deputy General Secretary

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