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Foreign Ministry Workers Block Visas, Part of Job Slowdown

Foreign ministry workers refuse to carry out consular functions around the world, due to a dispute over wages and working conditions.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 6/24/2013, 1:12 PM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets Sri Lanka Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets Sri Lanka Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris
Flash 90

Workers at Israel’s foreign ministry are beginning to refuse to carrying out consular functions around the world as part of a job slowdown over wages and working conditions.

Workers at Israel’s foreign ministry are refusing to carry out consular functions around the world, such as issuing visas to Israelis and foreign citizens at Israeli diplomatic missions.

The move comes are part of a job action over a demand for higher wages and better working conditions in a nearly four-month-old dispute.
            
Under the slowdown, the workers’ committee instructed its union members beginning Sunday not to issue visas to tourists, foreign workers, clerics, United Nations personnel and diplomats.

Work permits to foreign workers also won’t be issued under the sanctions imposed by the workers’ committee, a representative told Israeli media.

The decision came following a breakdown in talks shortly after they began between union representatives and the Finance Ministry.

Last month, the workers’ committee ordered staff to stop dealing with trips abroad by ministers and other government officials. The first to be affected were Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir, who traveled to Paris and Latin America respectively.

Nearly two weeks ago, Foreign Ministry employees rallied outside the Knesset to protest their working conditions and the fact that the Finance Ministry had refused to discuss their demands.

The workers were insisting on raising their wages and improving their benefits and working conditions to meet the same standard as those of Israeli foreign ministry workers abroad.