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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 October 2018

Workers in UK do 1.2trn of unpaid housework and care each year

The growing burden of domestic labour still falls mainly on women

The growing burden of domestic labour still falls mainly on women   (Click to enlarge)

Lindsey Morgan, Leicester West Socialist Party

Exhausted and exploited workers are doing an increasing amount of unpaid household work.

The amount of unpaid domestic labour has grown every year from 2005 to 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics. It equates to about 18,932 per person on average - 1.24 trillion a year, almost half the UK economy's annual product!

This shows the incredible scale of the reliance of the bosses on workers' unpaid labour in order to maintain the workforce.

This labour is essential to sustain society as the bosses strip away the social safety net and increasingly place the burden on the individual.

Women

Women, who are more likely to be trapped in low-paid work, are also having to spend more and more time caring for children and adults.

Capitalism's inherent sexism means we still do the majority of unpaid domestic work. Men do 16 hours a week on average, compared to women's 26 hours.

The Socialist Party fights for free childcare for workers for a start, as well as reversing all cuts to health and social care.

That would lessen some of this burden and enable many women to achieve their ambitions.

I was the carer of my partner up until his death. It took a huge toll on my mental health trying to juggle caring for him, looking after our child, doing the housework, managing my mental health, and managing finances.

I asked for support and was told there wasn't a care package social services could put in place for us as, in their words, I was "coping well." I wasn't, and needed support.

The isolation that doing all this work caused was significant as I felt I couldn't leave him. If I could even have got some respite care for him, that would have had a huge impact on my energy levels and my ability to look after myself and my family. But this was denied to me.

How many others have been denied the vital care and support they need? We fight for socialism so that everyone who needs support gets it.

Services cut

Austerity has forced us to become increasingly self-reliant - at the expense of social interaction and support. It is clear that as services are drastically cut, workers are doing this ourselves - without any extra time or money.

Some capitalist economists claim the figures hide a higher standard of living because we now do more online! But more domestic labour has obviously not resulted in a higher standard of living.

As well as fighting the cuts which force more of these tasks on us, the Socialist Party fights for a shorter working week and higher pay.

Then workers could have free and healthy relationships with our families, without exhausting ourselves to support the billionaire bosses.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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In The Socialist 10 October 2018:


What we think

Tories' crisis conference - Corbyn must fight for general election


Workplace news and analysis

We need democratic, rank-and-file leadership to win national UCU disputes

First coordinated catering and courier strike whets workers' appetite for action

Another first: pub strike victory in south London!

Cable makers strike against real-terms pay cut

Strike raises pay at Liverpool airport

South Western rail guards hit 18 strike days


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fight the right

12 years to halt irreversible climate disaster. Capitalism's time is up

8,000 Glasgow workers plan historic mass strike

Super-rich flee to Monaco to evade Corbyn

Workers in UK do 1.2trn of unpaid housework and care

Workers' action wins Amazon pay rise

Them & Us


Anti-racism

Fight racism: fight for jobs, homes and services for all

25 years since 50,000 marched against the far-right threat


International socialist news and analysis

Polarisation, risks and resistance in Brazilian elections

US: #CancelKavanaugh

Mexico: socialists violently attacked by gangs - urgent solidarity needed

Ireland: 10,000 march for homes in Dublin


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Liverpool 47 plaque: "Better to break the law, than break the poor"

Palestinian solidarity: "We are not victims. We are freedom fighters."

Leicestershire: stop the cuts to our hospital services

Save Huddersfield Royal Infirmary - the fight goes on

Finance - a crucial component of socialist campaigns


Opinion

The murky world of the 'Big Four' accountancy firms

The Socialist Inbox


 

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