There is nothing respectable about the nursing strike.
The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) voted to strike after failing to reach an agreement with the Victorian Hospitals Industry Association (VHIA), subsequent to the previous Enterprise Bargaining Agreement expiring on November 1. The ANF demanded an 18.5% pay increase whilst the VHIA on behalf of the government offered 2.5% annually with bankable productivity gains. Industrial action began November 12 and was ordered to stop on November 16 by Fair Work Australia after an application by VHIA.
The ANF defied this order and continued striking until a third order to suspend industrial action was issued November 25th. During this period hundreds of beds had been closed across 86 health providers in the state with major effects on hospitals.
According to news reports, during the nursing strike a two-year-old girl with a broken arm had to wait more than a day for treatment after staff vacated the Casey Hospital emergency department.
Nurses refused to admit a 96 year old woman to a ward, until senior management was called in. A man at Northern Hospital waited 40 hours on a trolley.
In my hospital, 5/6 of theatres were closed, grinding theatre to a halt and forcing patients, some of whom have waited years in crippling pain, to forego operations that would have restored their ability to walk. Over 800 such elective operations were cancelled by nurses during the 13 day strike.
Contained in a series of instructions published on the ANF website the ANF somehow gave themselves the power and expertise to decide who would and would not get an operation: