Work dispute declared in Foreign Ministry

Employees to stop cooperation with PMO, Defense Ministry.

The Prime Minister’s Office and Defense Ministry will have to do without evaluations and position papers from the Foreign Ministry as a result of a work dispute declared Tuesday by the Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic employees.
Following a meeting of the workers’ committee, which is looking to make the diplomatic staff’s pay and conditions comparable to that of Defense Ministry and Mossad employees, a memo was sent out to all employees calling on them to stop all work-related contact with the PMO, including the National Security Council and the Defense Ministry.
It is forbidden, according to the memo, to pass over position papers, take part in discussions, prepare diplomatic cables and visits abroad, provide consular assistance, and participate in joint projects or have any other contact with the PMO or Defense Ministry.
“No request from those two offices [the PMO or Defense Ministry] should be answered until further notice,” the memo read. At this point, however, the ministry officials can continue to work together with the IDF, the Shin Bet, Israel’s Security Agency, and the Mossad.
“Up until now there has been no willingness from the state to deal with our demands regarding salary and promotion,” the memo read.
The unprecedented sanctions are coming at a particularly delicate time and are likely to disrupt Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s visit Wednesday to the US, where the embassy there is involved in the planning of the visit, as well as Thursday’s strategic dialogue with the US in Jerusalem, which is to include joint meetings with US officials that will include representatives from the PMO, Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry.
Yaacov Livne, the head of the workers’ committee, said that the ministry’s employees get paid half of what defense ministry and members of the intelligence community serving abroad receive, even though they do the same amount of work and the postings abroad take the same toll on their families.
“The time has come for the state to stop treating us as a lower class of employee,” he said.