Unite says many construction workers cannot afford homes they build
November 24th: Unite, which represents workers throughout the economy, has called for a large turnout at the Raise the Roof housing rally due to take place this coming Saturday (26 November).
Commenting, the union’s Regional Coordinating Officer Tom Fitzgerald said:
“A generation has been locked out of secure and genuinely affordable housing. House prices rose by 77% between 2012 and 2020, while incomes increased by just 23% over the same period. At the same time, average rents now consume over half the average wage.
“The housing emergency did not arise overnight. Home building by local authorities collapsed as a direct result of public policy, with new housing builds by local authorities across the country amounting to just under 2,300 units in 2019 – a derisory figure given the level of housing need. Instead of building homes, funding has been channelled into tax breaks for large investors, lucrative leasing deals for developers and large subsidies for private landlords. It’s clear that we need a new deal for housing”, Mr Fitzgerald said.
James McCabe is Unite Regional Officer for Construction and added:
“Younger construction workers cannot afford to buy or rent the homes they build, while their older colleagues see their children unable to access secure and affordable accommodation.
“We need a new state-led housing programme focused on building public housing on public land, and on providing high-quality accommodation as well as high-quality jobs for those working in the sector”.
Concluding, Tom Fitzgerald said:
“The housing emergency is not a simple matter of policy failure: it is a consequence of the policy choices pursued by successive governments. Whether directly or indirectly, the housing emergency affects all workers, and on Saturday we need to turn out in huge numbers to demand that housing be treated as a human right and public good”, Mr Fitzgerald said.