Grenfell Fire: Never Again!

Posted in Off The Rails's blog on Fri, 23/06/2017 - 17:01,

This is a joint blog post from Tubeworker and Off The Rails.

The working-class people killed in the Grenfell Fire were killed because they were working-class. They were killed for being working-class — and, many of them, for being people of colour, and/or from migrant backgrounds — and not being able to afford better quality housing, or to afford legal representation to challenge the negligence of their landlords that tenants' groups had called out for years.

They were killed by capitalism, by its greed and hunger for profit, just as much as the workers who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York in 1911, or the workers who died in Bangladesh's Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013.

We send our sympathy and solidarity to the families of the victims, and to all those fighting for justice in the aftermath of this tragedy.

We have similar experiences from our own industry: it took the deaths of 31 people, with 100 more injured, in the King's Cross Tube station fire of 1987 to make London Underground tighten up its fire safety practises. The Hatfield and Potters Bar crashes, in 2000 and 2002 respectively, killed a total of 11 people and injured dozens more. Both were caused by negligence resulting directly from outsourcing, just as the Grenfell Fire was.

It should not take a King's Cross, a Potters Bar, a Grenfell, for our employers, public service providers, or landlords to get serious about safety. These tragedies - in reality, preventable or at least manageable accidents - are so often either directly caused, or exacerbated, by the bosses' haste to cut corners in the name of saving a few quid.

The whole labour movement should take up the cause of the Grenfell tenants, to provide them with support, by setting up fund appeals (as Unite has done), and support them in campaigning for justice. We strongly echo Jeremy Corbyn's call for the empty homes of the super rich to be requisitioned to house Grenfell survivors.

After Grenfell, rank-and-file rail and London Underground workers stand with the victims and say: our lives are worth more than the bosses' profits! Never again!

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