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Nurse calls for general strike to reject possible NHS funding cuts

Matthew Tovey started ‘say no to austerity’ petition after new chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced plans for further spending cuts amid financial turmoil

Matthew Tovey started ‘say no to austerity’ petition after new chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced plans for further spending cuts amid financial turmoil

A nurse has launched a petition calling for a national general strike, as he fears another wave of austerity could harm patients.

Primary care nurse Matthew Tovey started the petition after new chancellor Jeremy Hunt indicated more spending cuts for the NHS, saying there would be ‘very difficult decisions for government budgets’.

Petition calls for synchronised walkouts of essential workers

Mr Tovey, from Wales, is calling on the Trades Congress Union (TUC) to unite all public sector workers in planned strikes to ‘show the government enough is enough’. His petition has gathered more than 25,000

Matthew Tovey started ‘say no to austerity’ petition after new chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced plans for further spending cuts amid financial turmoil

Photo of primary care nurse Matthew Tovey
Matthew Tovey

A nurse has launched a petition calling for a national general strike, as he fears another wave of austerity could harm patients.

Primary care nurse Matthew Tovey started the petition after new chancellor Jeremy Hunt indicated more spending cuts for the NHS, saying there would be ‘very difficult decisions for government budgets’.

Petition calls for synchronised walkouts of essential workers

Mr Tovey, from Wales, is calling on the Trades Congress Union (TUC) to unite all public sector workers in planned strikes to ‘show the government enough is enough’. His petition has gathered more than 25,000 signatures since it was opened on 19 October.

It says: ‘We cannot stand by and watch as our country returns to austerity. Over the last 12 years we have lost so much – NHS beds, appointments, operations, tests, and staff all being cut to the bare minimum. We are asking all essential workers to unite. We must take action against this government’s plan. Our walkouts must be synchronised in order to have the greatest impact.’

New wave of austerity would be ‘damaging to patients and staff’

After his appointment as chancellor, Mr Hunt reversed almost all the tax cuts and high borrowing planned by his predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng and then-prime minister Liz Truss, who has since resigned.

Instead, Mr Hunt suggests returning to higher taxes and reduced government spending. Mr Tovey argues this could be damaging for patients and staff.

‘The press and Westminster will try to make this all about money. It is not. It is about the shortfalls in staff and the risk to the public,’ he told Nursing Standard. ‘To resolve these issues money will be needed and paying staff an appropriate wage to live comes under that.’

Government ‘has itself to blame’ over possible strike action

A spokesperson for the TUC agreed that UK workers are facing the ‘longest squeeze on their living standards in more than 200 years’.

They added: ‘If there is large-scale strike action over the months ahead the government only has itself to blame. Rather than getting around the table, it is picking a fight with unions and working people.’

But the spokesperson said a general strike was not being called as ‘workers decide themselves when they go on strike through a democratic ballot’.

‘They must be involved in a legal trade dispute and they must clear the necessary thresholds in the ballot.’


Further information

Petition: Say no to a return to austerity: We need a general strike to restore our NHS


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