Teachers seek damages from GNP

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Teachers seek damages from GNP

A liberal teachers’ union said Wednesday it would seek 1.2 billion won ($1.02 million) in damages against nine ruling party lawmakers who illegally disclosed the names of its union members.

Earlier this year, Representative Cho Jun-hyuk of the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) posted on his Web site the names and personal information of elementary and secondary school teachers who had joined the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (KTU).

Nine other GNP members followed suit in a show of support for Cho.

The Seoul courts later ruled that the disclosure was illegal and ordered Cho to pay the KTU 150 million won in damages.

“We decided to file the suit because the nine lawmakers have not apologized ... and insisted that what they did was right, even when the court said that it was illegal,” the KTU said.

The nine lawmakers are Chin Soo-hee, the new health and welfare minister, Chung Doo-un, Kim Yong-tae, Cha Myeong-jin, Jeong Tae-keun, Chung Jin-suk, Chang Je-won, Kim Hyo-jae and Park Jun-seon.

The KTU said that it would seek 1.2 billion won in damages, or about 200,000 won each for the 5,864 members whose names were disclosed by the lawmakers.

It also said the union would seek means to gain the 150 million won fine payment from Cho, who has refused to pay it.

The controversy with the GNP had put the 400,000-member KTU in deeper confrontation with the Lee Myung-bak administration, whose key policies drew criticism and opposition from the union.

Those who support the disclosure say it promotes the rights of parents and students to know teachers’ political affiliations, while critics said it gives schools and the government the means to identify and punish teachers with liberal views.

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