Korean Government Deprives Teachers of Union Representation

On 19 June 2014, the Seoul Administrative Court upheld the deregistration of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU).

The Ministry of Labour had revoked the registration of the KTU on 24 October 2013, which had been temporarily stayed by the court pending review. In revoking the union’s registration, the KTU becomes an illegal organisation and will no longer have the right to represent members in collective bargaining.

Korean labour law, which has been repeatedly denounced by the ILO as contravening freedom of association, does not allow union members who have retired or been dismissed to retain their union membership. The KTU has been deprived of legal recognition simply because it allows dismissed or retired members to stay in the union. Nine people, who the KTU maintains were wrongfully dismissed, are still members of the union.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said “This is an outrageous decision, symptomatic of a legal system that deprives people of their legitimate right to choose union membership. It is a clear violation of the ILO principle that unions should be allowed to include retirees, unemployed and dismissed workers in their membership. The Korean government is again displaying contempt for international labour rights, and it is no surprise that Korea ranks at the bottom of the Global Labour Rights Index.”

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For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 02 04 or +32 476 621 018