Grenfell Tower – never again

10 Sep 2019

The appalling fact that two years after the Grenfell Tower fire many public buildings are still wrapped in the same combustible cladding was highlighting by a TUC motion supported by PCS.

Motion 66 stated that 300 residential and public buildings are still wrapped in the same ACM cladding and at least another 1,700 hospitals, care homes, schools and high rise residential buildings still have combustible cladding on them. It expressed dismay that the Grenfell Tower Inquiry announced it would delay its phase 1 report and would not begin phase 2 until later this year at the earliest.

Steve White from the FBU who moved the motion said it was appalling that the politicians and businesses responsible for a system, which enabled such a devastating fire, have not been held to account. The Metropolitan Police has announced that prosecutions of those responsible for the fire will be delayed until after the public inquiry.

“Grenfell survivors deserve justice. We need to remind politicians that the people who lived in Grenfell Tower were not responsible for what happened and nor were the fire-fighters,” he said.

“We must ensure that nothing like Grenfell Tower ever happens again,” he added.

PCS delegate Keith Brockie spoke in support of the motion and explained to congress that two of our members escaped from the tower, one of whom sadly subsequently lost a baby she was carrying, while another who was a tenant was not there that evening but lost his whole family.

Keith applauded fire-fighters who regularly put their lives on the line to save others.

Keith said blame for the disaster lay with years of deregulation, outsourcing and austerity which our unions has consistently campaigned against.

“The whole outsourcing agenda needs to be reversed,” he said.

James Mitchell from Unite said that Grenfell was not a tragedy that couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen.

“Two years may have passed but we have not forgotten,” he said.

The motion applauded the work of the bereaved, survivors and residents from the
Grenfell community, who have campaigned resolutely for justice.

The motion, carried unanimously by congress on Tuesday (10) morning demands:
i. the removal of all combustible cladding and a ban on the use of all combustible materials in such circumstances
ii. a national review of the stay put policy, involving the FBU and representatives of tenants’ organisations from across the country
iii. the strengthening of tenants’ rights and support for a democratic and
independent tenant organisation
iv. new national accountability structures for the fire and rescue service and for the fire safety regime (to tackle the power of corporate interests)
v. an increase in the number of trained and specialist fire safety officers in fire and rescue services.

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