18 March 2014

Kenya: Israeli Mission in Nairobi Affected By Global Strike

Nairobi — Operations at the Israeli Embassy in Nairobi have been paralysed due to an ongoing global strike by its diplomats over a pay increase. The Israeli Embassy in Kenya said it would not engage with foreign representatives, take care of official visit, issue visas or provide any consular services.

"We regret any inconvenience which this labour dispute and sanctions may cause our counterparts in the government, our diplomat colleagues serving in Nairobi and to members of the public," Israel's Deputy Ambassador to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Seychelles Yaki Lopez said in a statement.

The strike follows a labour dispute between the Israeli Foreign Service Workers' Association and the Israeli Ministry of Finance. The Israeli diplomats are demanding a review of their salaries which they say have not been adjusted in a long time, despite increasing costs of living in the countries they work.

They are also complaining about a tax policy which they say is discriminatory since it fails to recognise that some diplomats have to take their spouses overseas, forcing them to resign from their jobs. The diplomats also want the Israeli government to improve the amount they pay them in overtime.

"Some of the demands made include long overdue adjustment of salaries of diplomats serving overseas due to the rise in cost of living, an end to discriminatory tax policy, consideration of the heavy price by 'trailing' spouses in terms of loss of income, career and pension, as well as decent compensation for overtime work," the statement explained.

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