The Trade Union Confederation of Americas, a labor union federation representing over 50 million workers in South America, issued a letter of support for the striking Israeli Foreign Ministry employees and encouraged them not to waver in their struggle for higher wages and better conditions.
In the letter, TUCA Secretary General Victor Baez Mosqueira expressed his full solidarity with the Foreign Ministry’s workers and accused Israel’s Finance Ministry of failing to take sufficient steps in order to resolve the situation.
“We are convinced that raising awareness in Israel and around the world to the plight of Israeli Foreign Service employees will assist in pushing forward a solution for their legitimate claims,” the letter read.
“We express our full solidarity with the labor movement in Israel, and with the measures taken by the employees of the Foreign Ministry.”
The ongoing Foreign Ministry strike has shuttered Israeli embassies across the world. Ministry workers say they do not make enough money to support themselves in Israel or on international assignments, especially in more expensive Western countries.
The strike has brought diplomatic work to a standstill, leaving Israelis who lose their passports overseas stranded and canceling trips by Israeli officials abroad.
Last week, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed the Foreign Ministry’s Workers Union for the strike, accusing the diplomats of “violence” and “brutality.”
“It’s the workers’ right to strike and to demand an improvement of their financial situation or their working condition, but I don’t accept going over to violence,” Liberman said at a press conference in the Knesset.
“What is happening now is that we’re hurting the poor sods who lost passports [abroad] and can’t return [to Israel]; we hurt babies and parents that went through the processes of surrogacy and can’t reach Israel; we don’t return bodies of people who died abroad, and the consulates refuse to deal with them…or the elderly patients whose caretakers traveled abroad and need to come back, and we don’t allow it.”
Liberman acknowledged that the conditions of some diplomats need to be improved and that pay is very low for lower-level diplomats serving abroad, but rejected some of the union’s claims as unrealistic, unjustified and even “absurd.”