But this year will be different.
After decades of overwork and appalling conditions, on 21 June we Carers will be withdrawing our labour – virtually. (And so, unlike a real strike our loved ones will stay alive and safe and protected. Which wouldn’t happen otherwise). http://caretostrike.co.uk/
As well as signing, we are putting down the number of hours we’d work as an unpaid carer on 21 June. And we are totting up the total, and what it would cost to replace us – at minimum wage and agency costs. Because we’re worth a lot more to replace than the nothing/Carer’s Allowance they currently pay us..
Every signature will also generate an individual email to Iain Duncan Smith – Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. (see picture) Appropriate, eh?
We are not striking for much in terms of what the world takes for granted. Most shop stewards would laugh at our modest demands. But no unions will represent us because we’re not ‘workers’. What we are asking for would make an enormous difference to our lives and futures compared to the ‘pat on the head’ that we currently get. We want:
1: Carers Allowance for all live-in carers, irrespective of age or employment, just as DLA/PIP is given to those we care for.
2: A state-funded occupational pension scheme for each fulltime carer to reflect what we might expect to have if we were working, say, only an 80 hours a week at minimum wage.
3: Solid practical careers advice and training for working-age carers to help us train for and sustain appropriate work within our environment and to provide us with the luxury of a working life should our caring duties finish
4: Social housing to recognise the requirements of disability and caring in the allocation of rooms. Sufficient appropriate accommodation purpose-built for the disabilities of the local population – because if it is not provided this is a huge stress on carers.
5: State money ONLY given to organisations that offer properly targeted transport-accessible fit-for-purpose help for every carer who needs it.