South Korean teachers’ union banned?

This video says about itself:

We are not disposable! Kiryung union struggle in Korea (Part II)

A recent trade union fact-finding mission on workers’ rights violations in Korea expressed deep concerns over the treatment of the workers belonging to the Kiryung Electronics Workers Union Local of the KMWU. The Korean company, which manufactures satellite broadcast receivers, digital satellite radios and global positioning systems for automobiles and other uses, supplies equipment that is installed in many vehicle models of major automakers offering Sirius satellite radio.

By Ben McGrath:

South Korean government threatens to ban teachers union

1 October 2013

The South Korean government is widening its anti-democratic crackdown on its political opponents, revolving around trumped-up accusations that the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) plotted a coup. President Park Geun-hye’s administration is attempting to illegalise the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU), accusing its members of being involved in the alleged conspiracy to overthrow the government.

The coup allegations have all the hallmarks of an anti-communist witch hunt and political diversion. The UPP was formed by former factions of the Democratic Labour Party, which was initially established by Korean trade unions. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) accused UPP lawmaker Lee Seok-ki of leading a group with links to the Stalinist North Korean regime that was supposedly preparing to stage armed attacks on public infrastructure.

The coup claims came after revelations that NIS agents actively worked for Park Geun-hye’s election in last December’s presidential election, a scandal that triggered enormous public anger. (See “South Korean opposition lawmaker arrested”) Now the NIS and Park administration are going on the offensive, targeting their political opponents.

An unnamed government source last month told the Korea Herald: “We have confirmed that some of the participants [in the plot] were members of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union.” The source claimed that Lee Seok-ki’s “Revolutionary Organisation”—a group that Lee denies ever actually existed—held a secret planning meeting last May and that 40 of the 130 participants were public servants and school teachers.

The government has previously pursued the KTU. The union, which has about 70,000 members, operates within the orbit of the UPP and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). It has won support from layers of teachers opposed to South Korea’s rigid and ultra-competitive education system. The government previously demanded that the union expel 22 members from its ranks after they were fired from their teaching positions for signing statements critical of the Lee Myung-bak government in 2009. The government maintains that because the teachers were fired, they can no longer legally be union members. It threatened to withdraw legal recognition of the KTU, using the issue as a pretext. On September 23, the government issued an ultimatum to the union to expel the members within a month.

The further allegations of involvement in a coup plot are a clear threat—the KTU must entirely subordinate itself to the government and its education agenda, or face being banned and subjected to police and intelligence agency raids and arrests similar to those orchestrated against the UPP. …

The ruling Saenuri Party, along with other conservative groups, has called for the disbandment of the UPP and the expulsion of its elected representatives from the National Assembly. Saenuri Party secretary general Hong Moon-jong declared: “The public’s opinion is that the UPP should disband voluntarily if the allegations are true. If not, then the government should demand the UPP’s dissolution.”

The threat to outlaw the UPP and KTU recalls the anti-communist witch hunts common under the dictatorship of President Park’s father, Park Chung-hee, during the Cold War.

9 thoughts on “South Korean teachers’ union banned?

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