Foreign Ministry workers refocus sanctions

Diplomatic workers' sanction now aimed at management of workers' own ministry which wants to tie structural reform in the ministry into a new wage agreement.

The Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic workers’ sanctions entered a new stage Sunday, aimed no longer at the Finance Ministry, but at the management of the workers’ own ministry, which wants to tie a structural reform in the ministry into a new wage agreement.
Even though the workers and the Treasury have agreed to a salary increase of between 13 percent and 20% for the diplomatic workers, the sanctions are continuing – and even being stepped up – because the Foreign Ministry’s management wants an outside committee to evaluate the workers’ performance every few years to determine whether they can go on to to managerial positions.
The workers’ committee is not opposed to the evaluation under certain conditions – such as workers having the option of leaving the ministry under good conditions if they are not deemed suitable for promotion – but they are opposed to linking this issue to the salary dispute.
On Sunday, the workers’ committee sent out a cable to all diplomatic employees, charging that acting director-general Rafi Barak had issued an ultimatum by saying this clause must be a part of any new agreement.
“Because of the uncompromising position of the acting director-general, we are forced to continue the sanctions and even intensify them,” the cable said. “At this stage, the workers are directed not to cooperate in any way with the acting director- general, and this includes preparing diplomatic papers, coordination or participating in meetings, or any consular or administrative work.”
The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is expected to take up the matter Monday – something that a representative for the workers’ committee said was placing pressure on management to come to an agreement before then.
The ministry’s management responded to the workers’ complaints by saying that it had been clear at the outset of the work dispute that issues relating not only to salary, but also to basic reforms in the ministry, would be on the table.