Monday, 13 October 2008

Carers up the creek

The concerns of carers are small beer compared to the present economic crisis. If they get the capitalist system to work again, there will still be the little matter a a major recession, possibly turning into a full depression, to deal with. The cost of bailing out the banks will be borne by the working class and those too sick and disabled to work, not by big business and its political allies in New Labour and the Tories. The Left have failed to make the obvious connection between Reagan-Thatcher-Blair-Brown and Casino Capitalism, sufficiently clear.

Meanwhile, back at the homestead, carers continue to struggle to cope with a demanding job for which they are not paid. Where is the campaign for a carers trade union ? Well, we are still struggling on at Carer Watch. Join us.

The government Green Paper on caring may become a White Paper one day and we need to do our best to influence it while we may. The Carer Watch group will shortly be producing their response to it and I can hardly contain my excitement ! For me, the salient issue is the proposal to move carers from the pathetic Carers' Allowance to the obnoxious Job Seekers' Allowance. This would apply to all carers, regardless of the hours they work, apart from the likes of me who are too ancient. What an absurdity and what an insult. So caring 24/7 is not a job already ? Those carers who are exhausted and made ill by all the hard work, the stress and depression, don't already have a job ?

All of this in a situation of rising unemployment where jobs are increasing hard to come by even for those who don't actually have one and are desperately seeking employment. It's all about social control. We may not have a job for you. You are obviously overwhelmed with work already, even to the point of desperation and despair, but the principle of you being not only being available for work but actively seeking it must be upheld. If you don't get paid a wage then you are not working already. If you are not employed then you don't get paid a wage. Carers can't win under the present set up.

It is important, I think, to campaign for carers to become public employees, because caring is a social responsibility. Using the individual budgets of carees to employ carers, potentially creates lots of problems. We clearly need a trade union to campaign for carers employment and other rights, so why haven't we got one ?

There are plenty of difficulties for sure, but carers could have their own trade union. It's about organisation. But it's not just about organisation. It's also about caring enough. Carers don't yet care enough about themselves and their situation to get themselves organised.