A sign posted outside the Israeli consulate in New York announces a strike on August 30, 2018.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Hold your Israeli passport tight if you are traveling abroad, because in the coming days it is going to take a lot longer to replace it if it’s lost or stolen, as some 600 “local hires” working in Israeli embassies and consulates declared a strike on Thursday.
This is just the latest installment of various work sanctions that have plagued the Foreign Ministry for years. It comes a year after Foreign Ministry workers committee head Hanan Godar told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also the Foreign Minister, that local hires who do yeoman’s work at Israel’s offices abroad earn less than pizza delivery boys.
As a result of the strike, there will be no reception hours for consular issues at consulates and embassies, and a number of discussions in the UN and the EU will be held without Israeli representation.
Ron Kormus, a local hire working at the consulate in Boston who is in the US accompanying his wife furthering her medical studies, said that the salaries for local hires around the world range from NIS 5,500-6,800 a month – regardless of where they are working, and what the cost of living is in those cities.
Kormus, a representative of the workers’ committee for the local hires, said in an interview with Kan Bet that the committee has been in talks with the Finance Ministry for months, but that “nothing is moving.”
He said that the Treasury and the Foreign Ministry cannot come to an agreement, even though the cost to the public coffers of the benefits the workers are asking would only amount to NIS six million a year.
“There is a breakdown in communications between the two ministries that hurts us – they are not agreeing on anything,” he said.
The Finance Ministry said that there has been constant dialogue with the workers over the last few months, and that it is “sorry” that the workers have decided to strike even as the talks continue.
The Foreign Ministry had no comment on the matter.
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