25 Feb 2012

Nurses defy federal ruling

9:55 am on 25 February 2012

Hospital nurses in Victoria, Australia, say they will defy a ruling by a federal agency ordering them to stop industrial action and return to work.

Rolling stoppages began on Friday morning in three big Melbourne hospitals.

Fair Work Australia on Friday ordered the nurses to take no further industrial action until June.

But the Australian Nursing Federation later confirmed it will defy the ruling.

Strikes will now extend to hospitals at Geelong, Frankston and the northern suburbs on Saturday.

ANF state secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said about 700 nurses walked out of the Royal Melbourne, Dandenong and Western hospitals on Friday, and would continue to do so, twice a day.

The nurses want a pay rise of more than 18% over the next 3½ years, as well as the retention of the existing nurse-patient ratios.

The ABC reports the dispute has now been running for more than eight months.