Oppressed Korean teachers don’t give up


This video from South Korea says about itself:

20 June 2014

A local court in Seoul has ruled that a progressive teachers’ union is not a legitimate labor group because it allows membership to fired teachers.

Back in October, the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union, or KTU, filed a lawsuit with the Seoul Admiinstrative Court against a government decision that outlawed the KTU due to its refusal to deny ousted teachers entry.

It surely has implications on labor relations here in this country….

Let’s bring in Dr. Kim Byoung-joo for a discussion.

First of all, what does yesterday’s ruling mean – one, for the 60-thousand-strong KTU?

The KTU has a long turbulent history in this country?

In that long history, the case of this particular legal dispute also takes up a significant part?

What does this case of KTU ruling mean for Korea’s labor relations?

By Luke James in Britain:

Banned union: We will fight on until victory is ours

Saturday 4th April 2015

A LEADER of a South Korean teachers’ union outlawed by its government vowed yesterday to “fight until victory is ours” as she received the NASUWT’s international solidarity award.

Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU) vice-president Bak Ok Ju sent the defiant message home as she collected the award at the NASUWT’s conference in Cardiff.

General secretary Chris Keates said the award was in recognition of the union’s determination in the face of “extreme hostility” from Korean ministers.

The KTU was immediately banned by the country’s military regime when it was established as an independent union in 1989.

Speaking to British teachers, Ms Bak described how thousands of “brave teachers who rejected their role as puppets” have been jailed or sacked simply for joining.

And she described how the attacks have continued under current president Park Geun Hye, daughter of former dictator Park Chung Hee.

The union was derecognised by the government in October 2013 for refusing to stop sacked teachers continuing to be union members.

Seoul Administrative Court then stripped the union of its legal status in June 2014.

Despite raids on its offices and the arrest of leading members, the union is now fighting back by taking a challenge to South Korea’s High Court and the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Ms Keates said the ban on teacher trade unionists is “profoundly ironic” in the year Seoul is to host the World Conference on Education.

“Despite all of these attacks, the KTU is continuing its work to defend the human and trade-union rights of teachers in South Korea,” she said.

“I am proud that the NASUWT has been able to play a part in offering solidarity.”

One of the largest protests in South Korea for years took place in Seoul, Saturday. Workers, farmers and students condemned President Park Geun-hye’s administration and its attacks on labor conditions and education, particularly the rewriting of history texts to glorify the country’s previous dictatorships: here.

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