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Are you a Carer? Please sign up to the Carers (Virtual) Strike 21 June 2014

(17 Posts)
carerwithattitude Tue 17-Jun-14 15:50:12

All mums are carers, but many mums are also Carers. Some, like me, didn't really realise the fact until years in - although I’ve been 'on duty' as a fulltime Carer or my dd night and day, 168h a week, for the last 14 years. Although it was Carers'Week last week, most of us Carers didn’t notice any difference (although occasionally we heard the great and the good telling us how selfless we are: Right.

We know that already – for decades the UK has been reliant for decades on not paying 7 million of us to do most of the day-to-day caring work in this country. But being a carer brings poverty, isolation, stress, ill health, and exclusion. It jolly well shouldn’t!

And so we carers are going on strike – virtually. (After all, we can hardly stop caring for those we love) Why? There’s no way that anyone can, could - or should - compensate us for the love and the sheer amount of time we give up voluntarily. But you can prevent this care from wrecking our lives, our health and our futures and making us an unwilling burden on the state when our caring work is over. I’ve already developed two chronic, painful, disabling and dangerous conditions as a direct result of my life. They are now investigating a third sad. What happens to my DD if I die? For a start it will cost the state a huge amount more!

So far there are only 718 virtual strikers signed up (the numbers are rising fast), but the annual cost of replacing them would cost the state £94 million! That’s not small potatoes. Multiply that sum by the hundreds of thousands of other carers too anxious, dulled, or overworked to take action and you get some idea of the size of the problem.

We’re not striking for much. Most shop stewards would laugh at our modest demands. But what we are asking for would make an enormous difference to our lives and futures compared to the pat on the head that is all we currently get:

1: Carers Allowance for all live-in carers, irrespective of age or employment, just as DLA/PIP is given to those we care for. Currently Carers can only claim the generous £61pw if they earn less than £100 pw- and carers charities put their energy into getting people to claim rather than lobbying for a better deal.
2: A state-funded occupational pension scheme for each fulltime carer to reflect what we might expect to have accrued 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 provision and 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 carers’ organisations that offer properly targeted transport-accessible fit-for-purpose help for every carer who needs it.
Further details are in the Carers Manifesto

Each signature sends an email to Ian Duncan Smith asking him personally (and politely) to honour these requests.

We carers are truly between a rock and a hard place – we have no union to represent us, and so, despite our numbers, we are treated very lightly and all troubles and difficulties brushed aside as 'unavoidable'. This should not be the case! If you are a Carer as well as a carer, please sign and support

FiveFingerDeathPunch Tue 17-Jun-14 15:56:07

done and shared on fb, this should be linked to the sn type topics

ouryve Tue 17-Jun-14 15:56:48

I think I signed this, yesterday. I'm not sure if it responded correctly, or not.

ouryve Tue 17-Jun-14 16:00:27

Oh yes, have to use ctrl+F as the signatory list didn't format past the first page, but I'm there.

carerwithattitude Tue 17-Jun-14 20:52:04

Thank you - just one more sign-up - and the virtual annual replacement cost of our virtual strikers will hit £100,000,000 - that' s ONE HUNDRED MILLION POUNDS. It really shows what an unquantifiable, irreplaceable resource family carers are

FiveFingerDeathPunch Tue 17-Jun-14 21:47:43

sadly the thread about a campaign about menus seems to have more interest of mn than this!!

tribpot Tue 17-Jun-14 21:56:16

Done. Hadn't seen this on Twitter, are Carers UK supporting?

carerwithattitude Tue 17-Jun-14 23:25:54

Carers UK are a little reluctant to sanction a strike, I suspect. They offer support from the sidelines. Twitter hashtag #CarersVirtualStrike

lougle Tue 17-Jun-14 23:48:55

Have you got MNHQ's support? I clicked on this thinking it was their campaign.

I don't think this will achieve anything. What God does a virtual strike do? Strikes are only effective if it causes disruption. As the LAs have no obligation to step into the breach for a one day inability to care by a carer, it will do nothing of the sort. All it will do is make you seem like you're having a tantrum.

TheVioletHour Wed 18-Jun-14 08:44:11

Might tie in well to TIMC lougle. Seems to be quite a few threads in here looking down the list that arent official campaigns ?yet

carerwithattitude Wed 18-Jun-14 08:51:05

Lougle - I asked MNHQ if I could raise awareness and yes, they told me I could post this here!

Answers in turn: You say 'tantrum'? Are you sure that is a particularly fair description of the Carers' Virtual Strike? (and - for that matter - do please tell me how family carers can strike if NOT virtually? You are surely not suggesting that, say, the fulltime carer of the tetraplegic OH or the epileptic dd just leaves home for the day and lets their loved one die to prove the point? That might be considered as taking things a bit far? )

You mention LA's 'providing cover' - as if Local authorities are in the habit of doing this at the drop of a hat. Sadly this is far from the case.. The strike is not aimed at adding further burdens to Local Authorities, but is asking for central governmental intervention. Every signature sends an email directly to Ian Duncan Smith )

Thiis is not a tiny problem. 1 in 10 of us is an unpaid family carer - and as people get older, it will happen to more of us for longer. The underlying problem is how we can raise awareness and proper state support to underpin a current increasingly unworkable system, where the UK NHS and social care systems are wholly dependent on the unpaid care of 7m family carers, yet do not wish to admit this fact even to themselves. My personal view is there is a lot of unacknowledged sexism in this and it happens because so many of of us carers (though by no means all)are women.

The mechanics of protest are, I agree, difficult: no government has had the will to change our circumstances - why should they pay fo what they get for free? Unions do not wish to represent family carers, because, although we may be on duty 168 hours a week (every hour there is) for years on end without pay, sick pay, holiday pay, pension entitlement etc in union eyes 'they do not work.' I was told so myself when I had to break a picket line to take my dd to an emergency appointment. The virtual strike seems a fair way of drawing attention to our unacknowledged plight.

Please look again at what we are striking for

lougle Wed 18-Jun-14 11:46:52

You've misunderstood me. This has no teeth because a 'virtual' strike has no impact. Nobody will care that you are sat at your computer screen saying 'I'm going to pretend I'm striking because I can't actually strike...'

FiveFingerDeathPunch Wed 18-Jun-14 15:27:01

well hopefully it will do more than the TIMC campaign

carerwithattitude Wed 18-Jun-14 20:11:06

FIveFIngerDeathPunch - thank you, we hope so too!

tribpot Wed 18-Jun-14 20:20:10

It has no teeth, lougle, because carers have no teeth. We have no meaningful way to protest, that's the problem.

The Virtual Strike is obviously a publicity stunt, aimed at generating a very large number representing the figure the 'strikers' have saved the government by actually not striking. Hopefully it will catch some people's eyes. We can't really storm Parliament.

FiveFingerDeathPunch Wed 18-Jun-14 22:31:44

surely ANYTHING that brings the plight of carers into the the "public eye" is a good thing
this will not work IMO
we have a government who do not care and have no idea what a carer goes through.
what I hope comes of this is people just realise how much "we" do
i don't care if it is not a mn hq campaign(the TIMC had no teeth) I just want people to get it. or at least know what we do.

carerwithattitude Fri 20-Jun-14 09:16:58

Its not exactly a publicity stunt to point out that if you don't exist, the cost of the work you do for free is so disproportinate..
Private Eye's MD (who must have picked up on Saturday's strike) wrote last week: "The NHS and social care system is crucially dependent on millions of unpaid carers, and the round-the-clock pressures and responsibilities they face are huge. If carers went on strike, the NHS and social care services would collapse overnight."
I'm assuming this is the reason why successive governments are so charmlessly deaf about the lack of support they offer: they have factored an immense amount of non-payment into social care provision

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