Carers’ (Virtual) Strike

Letter to IDS print



Be there – in spirit. Tell them what you are doing – in actuality (and guess what – it’s not sitting on your bum, mooing soothing platitudes and  drinking tea. Half the world thinks that’s what carers ‘do.’)

The first strike took place on 21 June 2014. 988 virtual strikers took part, logging up 23,712 virtual strike hours on that day. If you had had to replace these few for the 24 hour day they work unpaid, the cost to the state would have been £355,680. If they had fallen dead of exhaustion – and working round the clock for months, years on end makes this a distinct possibility – the annual replacement cost would be £130 MILLION. Multiply that by the millions of carers the state is relying on to work these inhumane hours and you can see you have a problem.


On 21 June 2014 – after decades of unrecognised work and appalling conditions –  British carers will be withdrawing their labour – virtually.  (And so, unlike a real strike our loved ones will stay alive and safe and protected. Which wouldn’t happen otherwise).

As well as signing, we are putting down the number of hours we will work as an unpaid carer on 21 June 2014. 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.

Please join the strike. Sign and pass the link on to every carer you know. And if they find it hard to go online, please help them.  We deserve to be heard!

Not a carer yourself? Sign up on our new supporters’ page – and show that you care we are careworn



  1. It’s a shame that I just received this on the 20th June, one day before the strike. There are lots of people and organisations I could have passed this on to to publicise it.


    1. Am very sorry to hear it – we’ve been around online and tweeting for six months, hashtag #carervirtualstrike. Do please spread what awareness you can. I think this is just the FIRST strike – more will come. But you would be astonished quite how many people clearly don’t care about carers


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