Socialist Worker

As Tories and the council keep failing over Grenfell, residents demand change

Issue No. 2559

Residents took the lead in helping victims when the Tory council failed

Residents took the lead in helping victims when the Tory council failed (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The Grenfell Tower fire showed the Tories’ contempt for working class people.

They have left survivors, grieving friends and relatives to fend for themselves.

Days after the fire, anti-social behaviour orders were hand delivered to tenants at a nearby block.

And before the fire two women who raised safety concerns were threatened with legal action.

Kensington and Chelsea’s Tory council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown has now said that tenants didn’t want sprinklers because it would cause disruption.

But Andrea Newton, vice chair of the Grenfell Tower residents’ association, told a crowd on Monday, “I don’t remember the consultation where we were given that option.”

Paget-Brown has done nothing apart from cover his own back.

Authorities announced on Monday that the number of people dead is estimated to be 79.

Zana Pazeraite is a worker from the school at the base of Grenfell Tower. “One family I know has been completely wiped out,” she said.

She told Socialist Worker, “Two women were working with me. After the incident I found out that one of them was in hospital.

“I found my other colleague’s picture attached to the mural wall where people leave messages about the missing.”

It’s likely that the real figure of the dead will never be known.

Migrants

Undocumented migrants will not want to come forward to report deaths if they fear that they may be deported as a result.

A central demand of the campaign for justice must be the right for any undocumented migrants to have the right to stay here.

People are reportedly being displaced as far away as Preston. This is all while some 1,400 houses and flats lie empty across the borough.

“Theresa May promised to rehouse those who lost their homes in fire in the area, but now they sending people as far as Peterborough,” said Zana.

“If they don’t take what they are being offered, the council will consider them as intentionally homeless.

Where is the justice? Theresa May must go.”

We need to demand justice for the victims of Grenfell.

We should requisition the empty homes of the rich to house people displaced by the fire.

Fire audits are needed now, along with sprinklers fitted in all tower blocks.

The rich should be taxed to pay for these upgrades, repairs and maintenance of council housing.

Our lives must be put before the bosses’ interests and profits.

Saturday’s March for Homes demonstration can pull all these demands together.

Working class people should not have to fall asleep with the fear they may not wake up because of their landlord’s greed.


How many more Grenfells could there be?

The flammable cladding used on Grenfell is being used on some 30,000 buildings across Britain.

The Tories have ordered inspections of social housing.

That’s not enough—any building with that material on it should have it stripped off.

Yasmin from Camden, north London, came to Grenfell to volunteer to help survivors last Saturday. “The block of flats opposite my house is covered in exactly the same material,” she told Socialist Worker. “How many more are there?”

Michael Carlish, a construction project manager, organised the refurbishment of Charecroft Estate in Hammersmith and Fulham.

A similar material was used on window frames then, resulting in a fire.

“It’s not within the imagination of the people carrying out the risk assessments that the panel can come away and expose the flammable materials,” said Carlish.

New evidence shows the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation that managed Grenfell Tower did not report faults.

When he was minister for local government Eric Pickles asked local authorities to consider installing sprinklers in tower blocks. It should have been an order.

Many people who died in Grenfell would be alive for the sake of the cost of a new sprinkler system—£200,000.

One firefighter told Socialist Worker, “The strategy in a tower block is simple. The walls and the ceiling in each flat should contain the fire for 60 minutes. The scale of the loss of life at Grenfell was completely avoidable.

“Those responsible must answer for it.”


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