Israeli diplomats sport jeans, sandals in wage protest

Israeli diplomats sport jeans, sandals in wage protest Jerusalem: Israeli diplomats have started wearing jeans and sandals to work and caused a series of diplomatic faux pas in a protest over salary conditions, a foreign ministry official said on Tuesday.

The increasingly public dispute has compounded Israel's diplomatic woes at a time when it is struggling to contain the backlash from a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid fleet last month that frayed relations with key ally Turkey.

"For several days now foreign ministry employees have come to work in jeans and sandals, without wearing ties, to protest their treatment," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"They are following orders from the employees' committee, which has accused the treasury of dragging its feet in six months of salary negotiations."

The labour dispute has also seen employees shirk routine duties, with some visiting foreign dignitaries recently being abandoned by their Israeli ministry drivers and forced to ask their embassies to send cars.

Yesterday, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon had to welcome visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov without a customary ceremony because no one bothered to organise one.

And Uzi Arad, national security advisor to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had to cancel a trip to Moscow because the Israeli embassy there said it could not accommodate him.