On the eve of the US President Barak Obama visit to Israel, the Foreign Ministry employees declared on Thursday a labor dispute. Two years ago, a foreign ministry strike scuttled the planned visit of then-Russian president Dmitri Medvedev. According to a statement that the workers’ committee put out, the dispute was declared to improve the conditions of workers abroad, as well as to protest the ministry’s preference for temporary rather than permanent employees, and the lack of proper management, which harmed the running of the ministry. Among the demands is appropriate compensation for spouses of diplomats sent abroad who need to give up their careers and incomes.
A Foreign Ministry employees demonstration in 2011 (Photo: Workers’ Committee)
According to the statement, the workers are considering the following steps: stopping all contact with government agencies, including the Prime Minister’s Office and Defense Ministry; not processing the visits of official guests or senior Israeli officials going abroad; stopping assistance to Israelis in distress overseas; and cutting off contact with foreign ministries abroad and embassies in Israel. The workers said they had been trying to enter into discussions with the ministry’s management for months, but to no avail.