Nurses in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous province, have gone on strike to demand a pay rise and swift action to end the ongoing health care crisis in hospitals. The strike began on Monday afternoon, the BBC reported.
This is the first time in almost a decade that Australian nurses have taken part in a protest; And they went on strike at a time when the most contagious variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, was causing a daily increase in infections in the country.
In New South Wales alone, there are currently 2.5 million active corona patients.
On Monday afternoon, thousands of nurses and health workers marched on various streets in Sydney. At the time, they demanded an increase in the number of nurses in hospitals and health care centers, as well as an increase in the salaries and allowances of nurses, and announced that they would be on strike until the central authorities complied.
Earlier, leaders of various Australian nurses ‘and health workers’ organizations met with officials from the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC), Australia’s central labor authority, the BBC reported. There they also raised these two demands.
At the meeting, the leaders said that the number of nurses in hospitals and health care centers should be increased immediately and the salaries of nurses should be increased by at least two and a half percent.
But IRC officials did not accept the demand at that time. Even when nurses and health workers went on strike on Monday, officials complained that the anarchists were instigating planned protests to destabilize the country’s health and medical systems.
But the New South Wales provincial health ministry has expressed sympathy for the nurses’ strike. The ministry also urged the IRC to address the issue.
A statement issued by the ministry on Monday said, “Nurses have been relentlessly carrying out their duties for the last two years of the epidemic. In the current situation in the province, if the strike is prolonged, there will be a huge catastrophe in the healthcare sector of the province.