KTU to send some of its teachers back to school

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KTU to send some of its teachers back to school

The Korea Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (KTU), the nation’s largest liberal teachers’ union, decided yesterday to send some teachers dispatched to the union back to school full-time by July 19, exactly a month after it was stripped of its legal status.

“We are sending some teachers working at the union back by July 19 because of the union’s financial burden and their personal situations,” said KTU spokesman Ha Byeong-su during an interview with YTN Radio yesterday. “The July 3 deadline set by the government is illegal and the law states [that the teachers] should go back within a month, which is July 19.”

The law for government employees, including teachers, stipulates that staff taking time off for any reason must return to their original position within a month if their reason for not attending work becomes invalid.

When asked how many teachers are returning to work, Ha answered that the union is still deciding.

The Ministry of Education told teachers working at the KTU to return to their schools by July 3 after declaring the union illegal because it refused to expel members who had been dismissed from schools. But the KTU, and most local education offices, refused the ministry’s order. After the June 4 local elections, 13 out of 17 local offices of education are headed by liberal superintendents who are known to sympathize with the KTU.

Meanwhile, the prosecution is investigating 75 members of the KTU, including President Kim Jung-hoon, who participated in the so-called “early leave struggle.” On June 27, teachers and education workers who oppose the court’s decision to strip the KTU of its legal status left schools early and staged a rally of some 1,000 people.

The Education Ministry, which reported the teachers to the prosecution, insists they have violated their professional obligation to remain politically neutral.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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