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

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Sihanoukville building collapse death toll rises to 19

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Sunday that the government will act against those responsible for the collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville on Saturday, which resulted in 19 dead and 24 injured as of Sunday evening. Sar Kheng said three Chinese nationals and one

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials