The Cambodia Independent Teachers’ Association said yesterday that they will carry out protests if 13 education staffers recently fired from the Ministry of Education are not reinstated.
Yesterday, all 13 staffers, including Rong Chhun, a former union leader and member of the National Election Committee before he resigned, attended a press conference held by CITA to demand the reinstatements.
All 13 were sacked by the Ministry of Education after being accused of absenteeism without permission.
“It is unfair for us all,” Mr Chhun, now a CITA consultant, said. “It shows that the ministry is politically discriminatory against anyone who formerly supported the [now-dissolved opposition] CNRP.”
The opposition CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November following the arrest and jailing of its leader Kem Sokha on treason charges over conspiring to topple the government through a colour revolution.
Mr Chhun was granted permission by the Ministry of Education to join the NEC in May 2015. However, he resigned from the NEC in the wake of the CNRP’s dissolution.
On January 1, Mr Chhun was fired from the Education Ministry over absenteeism from his department without permission.
Mr Chhun said yesterday that CITA would send letters to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the UN to seek intervention.
“We will also protest in front of the ministry and hold banners to demand that the ministry accept the officials back,” he added.
Mr Chhun said that most of the fired officials were teachers at government schools and former commune and district councillors from the dissolved CNRP.
Mut Phalla, a former education staffer at the Education Department in Siem Reap province, said he needed the job so he could support his family.
“I don’t understand why the ministry fired me,” he said. “Now I lost my job; my way to support my family.”
Ly Dy, another fired education staffer from Preah Sihanouk province, said his name was stricken from the government payroll on January 30 as he was accused of being absent without permission.
“The ministry should have informed me before deleting my name. We will ask for intervention in this case,” he said.
Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron and ministry spokesman Ros Salin could not be reached for comments yesterday.
Mr Salin said last month with local media that Mr Chhun applied to return to work too late after resigning from the NEC.