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Nurses in Australia on strike over exposure

Thousands of nurses have laid off workers in Australia in protest of staff shortages and rising coronavirus infections.

APA / AFP / Steven Saphore

Despite the ban on strikes, they marched through Sydney today in gowns and surgical masks. On their way to the New South Wales State Parliament, they carried placards reading, “Do not ask to see us again.”

In Australia, the number of infections has exploded in the past few months – more and more patients have had to be hospitalized, while many nurses have become ill or isolated. With heavy workloads, unions are complaining about staff shortages and low wages.

The New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association said people should “listen to the truth.” Employees are “inadequate, unsafe and endanger patients”.

In a statement, the New South Wales Department of Health thanked nurses for their “tireless work” during epidemics. More nurses and midwives are now employed in public hospitals “than at any time in history.”

The strike was banned by a court of law. An arbitration procedure has failed before. The union threatened further strikes.