Australian Nurses Protest

VICTORIA, Australia-Nurses are defy orders from the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) by closing public hospital beds on Friday night instead of at 8 am on Saturday.

The government is saying nurses closed 400 public hospital beds in Victoria on Friday in protest of nurse-to-patient ratios. The nurses and government have been arguing about staffing for more than 12 months.

On Thursday, 2,000 nurses voted to launch to industrial action. Health department officials say it is the largest action in 15 years. Their protest has closedown one-third of beds on most wards and cancelled more than one-third of elective surgeries.

Officials from the AIRC are trying to have the matter sent to the High Court for a decision, which could lead to heavy fines or jail time for union leaders.

The union secretary said the nurses would not comply with the order and their action would continue.

Information from