Sacked education officers request PM grant them return

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Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU) president Rong Chhun speaks at an event in January. Hong Menea

Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU) president Rong Chhun on Tuesday requested that Prime Minister Hun Sen allow him and 10 other education officers to return to work at the Ministry of Education.

The 11 teachers, including Chhun himself, were sacked by the ministry in January over accusations they took time off work without permission to take up other jobs.

The education officials concerned include teachers from Kampong Cham, Preah Sihanouk, Prey Veng, Siem Reap, Kampot and Battambang provinces.

Rong Chhun said in a letter to the prime minister that they had been sacked in an “unjust” fashion.

“For all the education officials [concerned], they did not make the mistakes the Ministry of Education accuses them off,” the letter reads.

The letter said the Ministry of Education went against a sub-decree allowing staff to work outside their stated institutions and bylaws concerning civil servants when terminating their employment.

Rong Chhun told The Post on Wednesday that the Independent Teachers Association (CITA) had previously written a letter requesting the intervention of the prime minister but had heard nothing. He said that CITA and CCU had also sought the assistance of relevant international NGOs.

Rong Chhun said the terminations were a result of political bias as he was a former National Election Committee member of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

The other 10 teachers concerned were also opposition council members at the commune, district and provincial levels, he said.

“I think it would be easy for the prime minister to solve this problem because it is not connected to a court case. This case falls under his [executive] powers as the terminations were connected to politics."

“The other teachers and I had stopped working at other places, and we can request to work back at our old institutions. The law allows us to come back to our old place when we finish work at a new place,” he said.

In March, two international unions, including the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Education International (EI), requested the ministry to rehire the sacked teachers.

Ministry spokesman Dy Kamboly said it had not yet received the letter.