Foreign Ministry ups sanctions after failed talks

Workers claim Treasury unwilling to accept demands; c'tee stops providing consular services for Israelis abroad, foreign workers.

June 16, 2013 20:22
1 minute read.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem 311 (R). (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)

The Foreign Ministry workers’ committee ratcheted up its work sanctions again on Sunday, after their representatives walked out of the first meeting with Finance Ministry representatives since they declared a labor dispute in February.

After the unsuccessful meeting, the workers’ committee instructed ministry employees to stop providing consular services for Israelis abroad or foreign workers in Israel. The only exception will be Israelis abroad needing one-time travel papers, for instance in the case of a lost passport.

According to Foreign Ministry workers, the stepped-up sanctions came because Finance Ministry officials made no indication they would accept demands that wages and work conditions be spelled out in a collective agreement.

Another key worker demand is that a mechanism be created to provide compensation for spouses of ministry workers who must relocate abroad.

The labor dispute reached the point where the ministry workers refuse to provide logistics for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s trips abroad, and have cut off all contact with the IDF and the Israel Security Agency because those bodies have provided assistance for Netanyahu’s trips.

On Thursday night, Jerusalem Regional Labor Court Judge Dita Prozhinin ordered the meeting, after being petitioned by the state to force some of the ministry’s workers, including those at the embassy in Paris, to provide the assistance needed for Israel to open its booth at the lucrative Paris Air Show that begins on Monday.

Among the issues the embassy needed to take care of was getting permits enabling security guards accompanying the 180-man Israeli mission to carry arms.

A compromise was reached in which the ministry workers would take care of the permits that would allow Israeli participation in the air show, in return for an immediate meeting with the Finance Ministry.

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