None of us will forget the horrors of waking up on the morning of June 14th 2017, just days after the General Election. A fire had broken out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in North Kensington, West London, just before 1:00 am; it caused 72 deaths, including those of two victims who later died in hospital. The fire was started by a malfunctioning fridge-freezer on the fourth floor. It spread rapidly up the building’s exterior, bringing fire and smoke to all the residential floors. The rapid spread has been attributed to the building’s cladding, which is a type in widespread use, along with the external insulation.
Survivors and the families of those killed in the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire have been given early sight of the first inquiry report into the disaster, nearly two and a half years after the blaze claimed 72 lives on gagging orders against criticism of authorities. Those affected by the tragedy in west London have been given copies of the phase one report, before it is made public while there are concerns it will largely absolve authorities of serious criticism.
The Tories refer to health and safety requirements as ‘red tape’, to them it is too much trouble to go to, an inconvenience because it might affect their profits. The tragedy of the children who perished at Aberfan died unnecessarily, and it was undoubtedly corporate manslaughter. The government would return to the Victorian times, women killed by crinolines caught in lathes, where there were non existing safety laws, and less power to our trade unions.
Thatcher’s attacks on the trade unions would be repeated and deepened by the Withdrawal Act which has been proposed by Boris Johnson.
As long as we have a government which puts profit before people, before safety, these events will continue to be in our News.
Those who built those buildings and put up that cladding, the politicians who cut health and safety requirements, those that turned a blind eye, those who bought up homes in the area for profit and left them empty, they are all culpable. Their attempts to cover-ups, and making the firefighters scapegoats for others greed and inadequacies will fool none of us who saw that cladding on that building burn in 30 minutes. We know the cause. The cause is greed. This report reveals that the Grenfell Tower fires was a crime caused by profit and deregulation.
The people stand in solidarity with our brave firefighters and will ensure that the truth is told and justice done. Furthermore, they deserve our support that the risks to all are minimised.
The Fire Brigades Union has responded to London Fire Brigade call for government to reverse ’20 years of neglect’ on fire safety
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) called for the Government to take stronger action and undertake urgent research on ‘buildings that fail’ on fire safety which leaves ‘stay put’ advice no longer viable, after “20 years of neglect” on fire safety.
Responding to the news, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has highlighted that government neglect of fire safety goes back further than 20 years and that LFB and its “political masters” must also take their share of responsibility.
The FBU is the trade union representing the overwhelming majority of firefighters in the UK and serves as the professional voice of firefighters and the fire and rescue service. The union is a core participant in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.The FBU has repeatedly called for a review of evacuation procedures for when “stay put” fails, most recently in an interview in the Sunday Telegraph earlier this month.The FBU released a pamphlet in September detailing how decisions made by every government fromThatcher led to the gutting of the UK’s fire safety regime and, ultimately, to Grenfell. You can view the press release here or download the full report from the following link: The Grenfell Tower Fire: A crime caused by profit and deregulation.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said:
“We’re glad that the London Fire Brigade (LFB) has joined our call for a national review of evacuation procedures when ‘stay put’ fails and for urgent changes to building safety legislation. Central government’s neglect of fire safety does not just go back 20 years; every government from Thatcher onwards has wreaked untold damage on the UK fire and rescue service. “Many of the catastrophic failings at the Grenfell Tower fire were national issues, down to the utter failure of central government to effectively legislate and coordinate fire policy and the complete inadequacy of chief fire officers’ organisations like the NFCC to improve fire safety.“Like all brigades, LFB was left completely exposed by decades of failed government policy. However, LFB and its political masters, including the current Mayor of London and his predecessor Boris Johnson, must also take their share of responsibility.”
It is unacceptable that the safety of people at work, families sleeping in our beds, our children at school, is dismissed because of the claims of red tape. Theresa May claimed Brexit was a way to cut EU red tape choking Britain and claimed Brexit would set the country free of the shackles of Brussels. But the shackles of Brussels did not cause Victorian women to die at a lathe, or children to die at Aberfan, or teachers and pupils dying because of asbestos in our schools. It is not the shackles of Brussels which led to the deaths at Grenfell. It was the shackles of the Tory government, their corporate backers and their insatiable greed. We must now take the opportunity and break from those shackles, and elect a Labour government.
- Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, recently detailed the damage Boris Johnson inflicted on LFB as Mayor of London in an article for the Daily Mirror.
- Think Left Grenfell Beyond Belief
- Workers Protection and the Red Tape Myth
- Fury over ‘gagging clause’ preventing Grenfell cladding experts criticising Theresa May
- Grenfell Tower fire: Survivors and bereaved call for first inquiry report to acknowledge authorities failed residents
- Asbestos Alert – Crisis is Looming
- A repeated betrayal, Aberfan, Wales on line
- Theresa May cut red tape from shackles of EU
- The FBU launched its Grenfell: Never Again campaign on the second anniversary of the fire, with five demands: 1) the removal of all flammable cladding; 2) retrofitting sprinklers wherever a risk assessment deems necessary; 3) ensure a strong, democratic voice for tenants; 4) reverse the cuts to firefighter numbers and fire safety officers and; 5) create a new national body to oversee the fire and rescue service. For more information, please see here.