Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

The problem of housing and the world of work

Having decent housing is getting harder and harder. No matter when you read that phrase, after the years the problem is getting worse and worse.

How can it be that the fundamental right to life, theoretically protected by various laws, recently recognized as a subjective right in the CAPV, remain in nothing before reality? When powers recognize it as a right, they are being protected as an element of regeneration of the workforce. At the same time, however, it is a commodity and an investment asset, among which housing policies emerge, trying to balance all these elements. Housing and regulated rentals promoted by the public sector, interests of the construction and financial sectors, landlords, since the taking of different forces we can explain the situation of the last decades.

In the case of rents, we have seen a sharp increase in prices over wages. To this must be added the existence of stricter rental requirements to reduce the risk of investment by landlords. On the other hand, from the point of view of purchase, after the Great Recession, financial institutions suspend flexible acquisition mortgages. In addition, a growing proportion of purchases are being made in cash without mortgages. The latter case explains more clearly the origin of the buyers’ class.

Several housing policies have also been incorporated in the CAV elections. Some proposals have focused on the issue of subsidies, supporting the aid that landlords are going to receive with money from all, including by offering public guarantees for the benefit of housing agents. Others have talked about the closure of public funds, the implementation of rental promotion programmes and public investment to facilitate access to housing.

The syndicalism is the indispensable actor of the housing problem: this explains the name of the housing movement

It is not enough to address the housing problem from the institutional policy. The limitations of these measures are obvious and do not address the main key: the labour market. If you lose employment or live in a precarious way, if income doesn't get you to pay expenses, you'll have housing issues. Applicants for assistance to housing unions have often suffered long-term dismissal or disability.

Housing movement is necessary, but in general it works the consequences of the crisis (rental problems) and not the source (labour problems). It is therefore necessary to stress the importance of trade unionism in the housing problem. The transformative syndicalism proposes the construction of a large class organization that changes the economic model (what to produce, what, with what, with whom, with whom, at the cost of what...) to put on the table the control of the labour market. As a result of this approach, the issue of housing makes another sense.

Of course, as long as this is not achieved, that trade unionism must do other activities. Support the housing movement by promoting legal or trade union advice, integrating the problem into collective bargaining and linking employment and housing problems, as well as proposing and protecting market exclusion measures.

Therefore, the syndicalism is the indispensable actor of the housing problem: this is the name of the housing movement. We need a global and systemic response, because based on other values, we need to build a society. Trade unionism, transformative, is fundamental.

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