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Less and less social housing: “The housing gap is getting bigger”

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The situation on the housing market is becoming more and more dramatic: the stock of social housing is “really melting away”, less is being built and at the same time there are a particularly large number of refugees who need affordable housing this year. “In 1987 there were 25 social housing units for every 100 tenant households – today there are only five,” said Robert Feiger, chairman of the building trade union IG BAU, explaining the shortage on Wednesday. At the end of the 1980s there were still around four million social housing units – in the west alone. Today there are only around 1.1 million nationwide.

In purely mathematical terms, an apartment disappeared from the social housing market every 19 minutes last year by falling out of the social bond. But one is only added every 25 minutes due to new construction. “The situation will worsen dramatically again this year,” said Feiger on the sidelines of the trade union day of IG BAU, which with 220,000 members is one of the smaller DGB unions. By the end of the year, more than 700,000 homes would be missing.

Warning of the gastro effect

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“Germany has reached a new low in social housing, and that with a high level of immigration,” said the trade unionist and had a few recommendations for action ready for politics. In order to promote 100,000 social housing units per year, the federal and state governments would have to provide at least 12.5 billion euros. In addition to the new building, Feiger sees potential in converting office space into apartments and in adding a storey to the roof.

During the recession, he fears that the construction capacity that has been painstakingly built up in recent years – a good 235,000 construction workers in the last five – will shrink. “Whoever leaves is gone,” Feiger warned of the “gastro effect”: During the pandemic, tens of thousands had given up their jobs in hotels and restaurants and looked for new jobs.

Robert Feiger, Federal Chairman of IG BAU, at the trade union congress in Kassel, where he was re-elected for another four years.
© Swen Pförtner/dpa
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Feiger announced that IG BAU would “ensure” that the inflation premium of 3,000 euros announced by the federal government also reaches the employees. “We will negotiate the up to 3,000 euros gross immediately net from the boss at the tariff table,” said Feiger. With a view to the minimum wage, which will rise from 10.45 to twelve euros in October, the chairman of IG BAU, who is a member of the minimum wage commission, called for more controls and more inspectors.

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“If you can count on, as in agriculture, that in more than 90 years an inspector from the Financial Control Office for Clandestine Employment (FSK) will only come by once, then the control risk is close to zero,” said Feiger. Forest workers are only checked every 25 years, the “control break” in construction lasts 20 years and in building cleaning over 15 years. “Nationwide, at least 16,000 FKS inspectors must be deployed,” said Feiger. More than twice as many as today

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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