Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Two international union groups speak for fired teachers

Two international union groups speak for fired teachers

Rong Chhun speaks during a press conference earlier this month urging the Ministry of Education to reinstate him and other fired teachers with links to the opposition.
Rong Chhun speaks during a press conference earlier this month urging the Ministry of Education to reinstate him and other fired teachers with links to the opposition. Pha Lina

Two international union groups speak for fired teachers

Two prominent international unions have written to the Ministry of Education accusing it of illegally firing several employees with ties to the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, and asking that the group be reinstated.

In a letter, dated March 20 and sent to Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Education International (EI) say the ministry’s decision to terminate the teachers and education officers was in violation of international and local law.

“We believe their terminations . . . were politically motivated,” the letter reads. “Discrimination ‘without distinction whatsoever’ on all grounds including political opinion is strictly prohibited in the ILO [International Labour Organization] Convention No. 87 on freedom of association.”

Both organisations urged the ministry to reinstate the teachers without further delay.

“The right of the teachers in Cambodia to freedom of expression and association should be respected without undue interference,” the unions’ letter reads.

A total of 11 ex-CNRP members claim they were unjustly terminated from their positions with the ministry in January. Their termination letters, signed by Minister Chuon Naron, claim they were absent without permission.

However, the ex-employees say they had been allowed to take leaves of absence to pursue political roles with the CNRP. Following the party’s forced dissolution in November, however, they submitted letters to their respective provincial education departments requesting to resume their duties following standard procedure. The ministry, however, subsequently fired them.

Rong Chhun – a prominent former teachers’ unionist who was a CNRP appointee to the National Election Committee, only to resign in protest of the party’s dissolution – is among those terminated. Chhun on Wednesday said he believes the ITUC and EI have the “power” to push the ministry and the Cambodian government to reinstate them.

In addition, the American Federation of Teachers sent a letter to Cambodian Ambassador to the US Chum Bun Rong to express its concerns regarding the firings. The ILO also sent a letter to the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association acknowledging receiving its letter on this case.

Chuon Naron and ministry spokesman Ros Salin didn’t respond to requests for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • South Korea’s first lady brings hope to ill boy

    South Korea’s first lady Kim Keon-hee – wife of current president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol – met with a 14-year-boy with congenital heart disease during her trip to the Kingdom for the ASEAN Summit. After their meeting it was announced that the

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol