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

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement