One year on from the tragic events in London where 72 people lost their lives in the fire at Grenfell Tower Scottish Hazards are launching Enough is Enough, reclaiming safety regulation to campaign against deregulation , and for the reversal of safety laws in our workplaces and communities.
Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union writing in today’s Independent highlights the real truth behind the tragedy, decades of deregulation by successive Government’s have slashed safety laws to such an extent that social housing landlords such as Kensington and Chelsea Tenanats Management Organisation (KCTMO) were allowed to wrap a building in cladding having similar flammable properties as petrol.
It is deeply disappointing to witness efforts being made to question the effectiveness of fireservies and firefighters that night but also deeply heartening to remember the Grenfell community applauding firefighters as appliances left the scene their occupants exhausted, shocked and distressed at what they had witnesssed. That close bond continues to exist today as the community and the Fire Brigades Union work together to fight for truth and justice and that those responsible for the tragedy are held to account, Grenfell survivors wind victims’ families know it is not firefighters responsible for their loss.
Edward Daffarn a Grenfell Tower resident and co-author of the Grenfell Action Group blog had written eight months before the tragedy, “Only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders.”
Words all too sadly proven to be true.
In an article in the Guardian on the 3rd June he describes the relationship between KCTMO and its tenants as either being adversarial or hands off, with tenant’s concerns being completely ignored and a relationship between the landlord and the Royal Burgh of Kensington and Chelsea that focused on working together to maximize profitability out of Grenfell Tower rather than recognising Grenfell Tower as a commmunity and its residents as human beings, entitled to safe social housing in one of the the United Kingdom’s most financially unequal local authorities in terms of wealth.
That is the crux of the deregulatory ideology, it impacts mostly on those who have least including a voice to raise their concerns and to campaign for change. In communities such as Grenfell the Grenfell Action blog and now the Justice4Grenfell campaign provide that voice. Sadly had the landlord listened to the concerns expressed through the blog, then maybe there should have been no requirement for the Justice4 Grenfell campaign.
UIn the same way as trade unions are often misjudged by the architects and proponents of the deregulatory agenda for fighting and campaigning for safe , healthy working conditions and improved employment rights for their members, community and campaign groups are often viewed as irritations and agitators by those whose actions and incompetence they campaign against.
From Piper Alpha, to Hillsborough, to ICL/Stockline and now Grenfell communities, often with support of trade unions, have united to ensure the voices of workers and citizens are heard throughout often long and protracted criminal investigations and public inquiries, sometime against stiff opposition from Government and those tasked with uncovering the facts that led to unnecessary tragedy and huge loss of life.
Hilda Palmer from Greater Manchester Hazards Centre described Grenfell as an “Enough is Enough”; powerful words setting a challenge to everyone to join together to rail against the deregulatory agenda and to fight to reclaim our regulatory protections and ensure our laws do what they are supposed to do, protect citizens in our communities and our workplaces.
Scottish Hazards also believes enough is enough and we are commmited to campaigning for justice on our workplaces and communities throughout Scotland.
In memory of the 72 who lost their lives a year ago and all those who have died as result of regulatory failures in communities and workplaces please help us ensure Enough is Enough.