Disciplinary Action against KTU’s State-of-Affairs Declaration is Violation of Freedom of Speech

On 18th June, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) announced that it will impose disciplinary measures on Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU), in face of the union’s issuance of a ‘Declaration on State-of-Affairs’. Disciplinary measures towards teachers clearly violate freedom of conscience stipulated in the constitution. The KCTU strongly supports the declaration issued by the KTU and warns that if the Lee Myung Bak imposes disciplinary measures against the teachers, then it will consider the measures to be outright oppression and counteract accordingly.

A ‘Declaration on State-of-Affairs (shigook-seon-eon)’ is a form of political statement, usually expressing concern over the overall ‘state-of-affairs’ of the nation and is thus critical of the government. These declarations, which are normally signed by individuals and tend to have more symbolic weight than day-to-day statements, have been issued ever since the days of military dictatorship. Various declarations of the kind have been issued lately by many sectors of society.

Through the declaration, the KTU pointed out the autocratic politics of President Lee Myung Bak, including the degradation of democracy such as violations of freedoms of press, assembly and expression, and excessive abuse of police authority. Furthermore, the declaration criticized the government’s education policies that impose excessive competition upon the students and raise the already burdensome private education expenses. Already many individuals and organizations had expressed the same concerns before the KTU – in other words, these concerns have wide public consensus. Thus, the over-reaction shown by MEST can only be interpreted as an attempt to find justification for enforcing a police state, which is clearly abuse of authority.

MEST argues that the school teachers had violated laws on government employees mandating fidelity and ban on political activities, however, the arguments are groundless. A document written on 12th June by a team inside the MEST, which had the task of looking into the legality of the declaration, concluded that:

l  A signature campaign cannot be considered as collective action that involves negligence of duty or hinders public wellbeing.

l  A signature campaign is not related to exercise of duty under obligations of fidelity and obedience. Also, since participation in the campaign only takes a few minutes, it is difficult to consider it to violate duty of undivided attention to work.

l  A signature campaign is within the sphere of freedom of expression stipulated in the constitution, so it is difficult to consider it to violate the National Public Service Act and the Teachers' Unions Act.

It is not the first time for the KTU to issue a Declaration on State-of-Affairs, and the MEST itself had acknowledged that there is no illegality to the issuance. Nevertheless, it is threatening to impose disciplinary action against teachers who signed onto the declaration, which is yet another manifestation of unilateralism and arrogance of President Lee Myung Bak as well as being an abuse of administrative power on the part of the MEST. ‘Conformity’ and ‘subjugation’ seem to the main philosophy behind Lee’s government.

There is no justification or precedent in punishing individuals or organizations who express their concern about politics. MEST must cancel its plan of enforcing disciplinary measures against KTU members, and should stop its unjustifiable repression against the KTU. The KCTU reiterates its support for the KTU declaration. If the government pushes ahead with the disciplinary measures, the KCTU and its affiliate unions will struggle in defense of KTU.

19th June, 2009

Total 110

Call for Action- The G20 Summit is NO EXCUSE for Repression!

KCTU Sep 09, 2010 Hits 63996

The G20 Summit is NO EXCUSE for Repression! October 1st, International Day of Action against the pre-Summit attack on Democratic and Human Rights in South Korea Dear Friends and Allies, You have already received an email urging you to join protests against the G20 Summ...

[Monthly News] 2010 Directives of the KCTU: The KCTU will be at the forefront to stop labor oppression and protect democracy

KCTU Mar 30, 2010 Hits 79744

2010 Directives of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions] The KCTU will be at the forefront to stop labor oppression and protect democracy March 4, 2010 Labor rights are essential for democracy Korea’s Ministry of Labor denied the registration of the Korean Govern...

[Monthly News] Oppression against the Korean Railway Workers' Union

KCTU Mar 30, 2010 Hits 72221

[Affiliates’ News] Korea Federation of Public Services & Transportation Workers Union (KPTU). Oppression against the Korean Railway Workers' Union Oppression against the Korean Railway Workers' Union for their strike last year is still ongoing. Despite the withdrawal of t...

[Monthly News] Ministry of Labor returned union establishment report of KGEU

KCTU Mar 30, 2010 Hits 76655

[Affiliates News] Korean Government Employees’ Union Ministry of labor returned union establishment report of KGEU The Korean Government Employees’ Union indicted the Labor Minister for abuse of authority on March 9 after he refused the register of the union twice. The union ...

[Monthly News] KCWU announce Struggle against the government's repression

KCTU Mar 30, 2010 Hits 75765

[Affiliates News]Korea Construction Workers’ Union announces struggle against the labor union oppression of the government Ministry of Labor cancelled the certificate of union establishment report of KCWU President of the Korea Construction Workers’ Union (KCWU) Kim Geum-c...

Greetings from the Newly Elected President of KCTU

KCTU Feb 18, 2010 Hits 69565

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions 2nd Fl. Daeyoung Bld., 139 Youngdeungpo-2-ga, Youngdeungpo-ku, Seoul 150-032 Korea Tel.: +82-2-2670-9118 Fax: +82-2-2635-1134 E-mail: inter@kctu.org http://kctu.org [KCTU newsletter, February 11th, 2010] Fir...

Report on Recent ROK Government Repression of Public Sector Workers and Call for International Solidarity

KCTU Dec 05, 2009 Hits 90577

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions 2nd Fl. Daeyoung Bld., 139 Youngdeungpo-2-ga, Youngdeungpo-ku, Seoul 150-032 Korea Tel.: +82-2-2670-9118 Fax: +82-2-2635-1134 E-mail: inter@kctu.org http://kctu.org [KCTU newsletter, 2009] Report on Recent ROK ...

Agreement was Reached at Ssangyong Motors ...

admin Aug 07, 2009 Hits 117149

Dear Colleagues, Solidarity Greetings from KCTU! On Thursday(August 6th), agreement was reached between Ssangyong Motors management and workers. KMWU Ssangyong Motors Branch brought a 77-day sit-in strike to an end. The main contents of the agreement are as follows. ...

Photos on the Brutal Attack of Riot Police against Ssangyong Workers on the 5th August

admin Aug 06, 2009 Hits 140684

Photos on the Brutal Attack of Riot Police against Ssangyong Workers on the 5th August [Photo 1] SWAT Team was put in to the roof of Assembly building and chasing after striking workers for arrest on 8:05 am, August 5th. – by Lee Myung-ik, Photographer of KCTU [Photo 2]...

KCTU Statement : Violent Suppression of Ssangyong Motors Workers: A Declaration of War on Its Own People

admin Aug 06, 2009 Hits 110477

[Statement] Violent Suppression of Ssangyong Motors Workers: A Declaration of War on Its Own People 5th, August In the morning of August 5th, the police started its raid to forcefully break the strike at Ssangyong Motors Pyeongtaek Plant, literally turning the factory into a war z...

XE Login