“I’ve been building someone else’s house for 19 years, but I haven’t built my own house yet. Automakers and electronics companies have employee discounts, but there are no discounts for construction workers. My family is living in a house in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, and I live as a goose in a rental apartment in Seoul. Will my family be able to live together again in Seoul?” (Construction worker Yesungil)
The Seoul Headquarters of the Confederation of Trade Unions, the Justice Party Policy Committee, and the Korea Urban Research Institute held a ‘Debate and Testimony Contest for the Presentation of the Results of the Investigation on the Living Conditions of Workers in Seoul’ on the morning of the 30th at the Confederation of Trade Unions in Jung-gu, Seoul. “It is difficult to build a house in Seoul on your own without a ‘parental opportunity,’” said Ye.
“Expensive monthly rent forced me to commute for long hours and work late at night”
Young workers who failed to ‘enter Seoul’ due to high rents are being forced to commute for long periods of time. Kwon Do-hoon, a full-time activist at the Democratic General Union, said, “After entering a university in Gyeonggi Province, I moved between dormitories, one-roomtels, and go-sitetels. When I saw it, I could only get a semi-basement house with the money I had.” Kwon said, “I live in Gyeonggi-do and commute for 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Workers in Seoul are deeply troubled by the burden of monthly rent. Call center worker Jo Hye-ryeong said, “I moved from a rent in Gangbuk-gu to a monthly rent of 450,000 won in Nowon-gu for education of my child. said. “I started working late at night three years ago to pay the rent, and I fell ill with various diseases,” said Cho. Kim Gwan-hoo, an irregular worker, said, “I live in a rent of 500,000 won in Sillim-dong, and I have to renew the contract in four months.”
52.6% of Seoul workers bear housing expenses
Reduce the cost of cultural living and food
As a result of a survey of 1,227 workers in Seoul from September to October by the Seoul Headquarters of the Federation of Trade Unions and the Korea Urban Research Institute, 52.6% chose “the burden of housing costs” as the “difficulty they are experiencing at home.” It was followed by “poor facilities in housing” (11.8%), “difficulty in commuting and school” (9.6%), and “conflict between neighbors” (4.4%). Of the workers who answered that housing costs were burdensome, 31.5% said that they “reduced the cost of living for hobbies and culture.” There were also many respondents who “reduced food costs” (22.6%) and “debt increased” (19.8%). In the case of non-regular workers, 19.2% of the respondents answered that they “started a side job or increased their working hours”, which was 8 percentage points higher than that of regular workers (11.2%).
To the question ‘Do you think you should own your own house?’, 79.4% answered “I need it”. However, only 42.7% of the respondents were found to be living in their own homes. The rates of self-residence among workers in their 30s and those under the age of 30 were 30.1% and 24.7%, respectively. As for the anxiety they felt while living in a rented household, 68.6% said “increasing the deposit or rent or changing the monthly rent when renewing the contract”.
Lee Won-ho, a senior researcher at the Korea Urban Research Institute, said, “Considering that the real wages of workers except for the top 40% are stagnant, it is unlikely that Seoul workers’ share of self-ownership will increase due to policies to promote self-ownership, such as expanding loans or supplying housing for sale.” “The policy to promote self-ownership can act as a factor driving the rise in house prices and further solidify the housing problem of Seoul workers,” he said. As a way to stabilize housing, Senior Researcher Lee suggested strengthening housing support through employer funds such as the Joint Workers Welfare Fund, supplying workers’ rental housing using purchased rental housing, and enacting an ordinance limiting the rate of rent increase in Seoul.