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Protest at derecognition of Korean Teachers Union

Issue date

The TUC General Secretary has written to the Korean Ambassador on the de-recognition of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union

His Excellency Sungnam Lim


Embassy of the Republic of Korea

60 Buckingham Gate,

London SW1E 6AJ

date:            28 October 2013

Dear Ambassador

Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union

On behalf of the British Trades Union Congress and almost 6 million members of our affiliated unions and British workers, I wish to express our deep concern that on 23 October the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU) was deprived of legal status by the Government of the Republic of Korea.

KTU had been given a one month ultimatum to revise the provision in its by-laws allowing dismissed and retired teachers into union membership.   It should be noted that allowing retired and dismissed workers as union members and leaders is widely accepted internationally. The Committee on Freedom of Association of the International Labour Organisation has repeatedly criticised such exclusion. In its March 2012 report, the ILO Committee "urged the (Korean) Government to repeal the provisions prohibiting dismissed and unemployed workers from keeping their union membership and making non-union members ineligible to stand for trade union office … Noting with regret that the Government has not repealed these provisions, the Committee once again urges the Government to do so."

The derecognition of KTU undermines the Republic of Korea’s obligations to international labour standards.  In signing the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement in 2010, the Republic of Korea affirmed it would commit to and effectively implement ILO labour standards it had ratified and the ILO core conventions which includes freedom of association.

I look forward to receiving confirmation from you that our concerns have been conveyed to your government.

Yours Sincerely,

Frances O’ Grady


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