Saturday, August 14, 2010

Israeli Diplomats Look For The Union Label

AFSA, eat your heart out. Your counterparts in the Israeli Foreign Ministry's diplomatic union are living the dream. They have actually gone on strike and refused to perform some of their duties until they receive pay parity with the Israeli military.

Disgruntled ministry workers – who say they receive half the pay of their peers at Defence but do the same amount of work, often in countries where their security is at greater risk – have been stepping up their protests, ditching their suits for jeans, and shirking diplomatic duties.

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The diplomatic wage dispute is now in its sixth month and in the past 10 days employees have started turning up for work in sandals and jeans, while visiting and outgoing officials have been left to fend for themselves.

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And the row has spread overseas, with foreign embassies refusing to make the necessary arrangements for visiting Israeli officials, forcing Uzi Arad, Mr Netanyahu's national security advisor, to shelve a visit to Moscow.

This sounds like it would be a great deal. Imagine Casual Friday every day, and you could tell CODELs to fend for themselves during their Congressional recess boondoggle travels. ("Senator, you and your party can get a taxi at the airport. Hotels will take reservations over the internet, and they even have concierges who will make all the dining, shopping, and tourist arrangements you could possibly desire. Just don't bother the embassy staff, because they are off the clock nights and weekends.") Sweet!

These Israeli diplo-stikers will even get heavy with strike breakers:

Israeli foreign ministry employees on partial strike accused the Mossad on Friday of breaking their picket line and said they would only cooperate with the spy agency in cases of "life or death."

The employees' committee chairman criticised the Mossad for stepping in to help organise a trip by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Greece next week after embassy staff refused to assist with the visit.

"It is unacceptable that the prime minister would use another body, which is strictly in charge of security matters, to break a strike," Hanan Goder told public radio.

In response, diplomats on strike over wages would "provide no aid to Mossad representatives" at embassies and consulates around the world except in matters of "life or death," he said.

Not that I think AFSA would ever attempt a job action. Far from it. Anyway, the United States has a law that bans strikes by government employees and the last one ended badly for the strikers. But you can dream.

1 comment:

NoDoubleStandards said...

awesome. Hadn't heard about this.