Nurses in Six Counties go on Strike

Nurses in the Six Counties who are members of the union Unison have faced freezing conditions to take part in a day of strike action to demand better pay.

Strikes have been taking place since just after midnight and have seen nurses, ambulance staff and other health workers walking out and standing with placards in temperatures as low as -4C.


“It was extremely cold, but they were very determined to stand out and speak up” Anne Speed

Anne Speed, head of bargaining and representation at Unison Northern Ireland, told Nursing Times thousands of nurses were striking.

She said the atmosphere on the picket lines was one of determination and frustration and that there was “great solidarity among the workers”.

Members of the public had also shown support and had brought striking staff hot drinks and snacks.

“In freezing temperatures, that response from the public has been a real morale boost,” said Ms Speed.

On Strike placard sits in garbage pail post strike. Narrow depth with soft background. Shot in sun setting light.


Ms Speed said she was at the picket at Antrim Area Hospital this morning and the first group of staff who came out were nurses.

“It was extremely cold, but they were very determined to stand out and speak up,” she added.

One staff nurse on the picket line, who has been nursing for more than 40 years, described the current pay and conditions for health staff as “terrible”.

Nurses in Northern Ireland only received confirmation of their 2022-23 pay award last week, following an eight-month delay.

The award will see most staff on the Agenda for Change scheme receive a boost of £1,400 to their full-time equivalent salaries, as per the recommendations of the NHS Pay Review Body.


The below-inflation pay package is the same as that received by nurses in England and Wales which is causing them to strike too this month.


With the 10,000 nurses on strike for better pay in the North today.
We have two pay rates for Nurses in Ireland.
Nurses in NHS in the North are paid £29,710 (€34,810) in the South the HSE pay nurses €40,563 (£34,620)
Both health services are drastically short of nurses.
This is directly linked to low pay and chronic working conditions in two health services that are on their knees through underfunding.
As the debate for Irish unity continues unity must not mean the cobbling together of two failed health services or two failed states.
Unity must mean in health one fully funded all-Ireland health service, free at the point of entry from the cradle to the grave and offers decent pay and conditions for those working in it.
Partition is not good for our health.