Israel shuts all embassies because of foreign ministry general strike

Written by on March 23, 2014 in World - Comments Off on Israel shuts all embassies because of foreign ministry general strike

A general strike has led to the shutting of all of Israel’s embassies worldwide, a notice on the website of the Israeli foreign ministry on March 23 2014 said.

As of March 23 2014 at 3pm a general strike was declared at the Israeli foreign ministry.

The foreign ministry in Jerusalem will remain closed and Israel’s missions abroad will not open as of Monday morning, March 24, the notice on the website said.

Israel’s diplomats will no longer engage with foreign representatives, take care of official visits of any kind, either in Israel or overseas, issue visas or provide any consular services. Requests for special dispensation should be sent by e-mail to unionmfa@israel.org, the notice said.

This is just part of an extended list of organizational measures which will take effect immediately, after the Ministry of Finance caused the failure of a seven-month mediation process led by the former Chief Justice of the Labour Court.

“It may seem unusual for the diplomatic service of a country to become engaged in a labor dispute. Out of our deep commitment to presenting Israel’s interests abroad, Israel’s international standing and national security, we, the Israeli diplomats, insist that our reasonable demands be met,” the notice said.

Foreign ministry workers have decided to continuing to protest against what they claim is a series of failures in their terms of employment, including low salaries, which they claim are even lower than what is reported, as well as insufficient benefits and inadequate pension plans, Israeli news website Ynetnews said.

The list of complaints also includes the fact that the diplomats’ salaries have not been updated for inflation in 10 years, and the cost of living in different countries outweighs their meager salaries.

Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman condemned the unprecedented strike, saying it harms the state.

(Photo of Lieberman: state.gov)

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