Grenfell fire and corona pandemic underline that under capitalism life is cheap! Overthrow Capitalism Now!

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THE GRENFELL inquiry has heard from the bosses of both the insulation and the cladding companies that produced the flammable material installed on the tower.

Both the insulation and the cladding contributed to the rapid spread of the horrific fire and the deaths of the 72 men, women and children that perished on that dreadful night of June 14, 2017.

Claude Schmidt, president of Arconic, one of the cladding companies, was brought before the inquiry last week. The inquiry heard claims that the French firm ‘arranged’ for some fire tests to pass.

It heard that when cladding panels produced by Arconic were shaped into boxes or ‘cassettes’ they failed the fire test spectacularly. Internal company emails stated that those fire test results needed to be kept ‘VERY CONFIDENTIAL’.

The company the council chose to carry out the refurbishment – Rydon – used Arconic’s cheap flammable cladding and the Celotex flammable insulation and they did a shoddy job. There were gaps in the window frames and between the cladding and the building. This turned Grenfell Tower into a chimney wrapped in flammable material.

Despite the true horror of the building industry being publicly revealed in the inquiry, the government has done little to make buildings safe.

Inspections carried out by Façade Remedial Consultants of 2,000 buildings have revealed defective fire safety in 90% of them; 60% of these faults were not related to the buildings’ cladding.

No fire doors, no fire escapes, no sprinkler systems, no fire alarm systems … these are just a number of examples of defective fire safety found in buildings.

After six people died in the the Lakanal House fire on 3rd July 2009 in Camberwell, south London, it was recommended to the government that all buildings be fitted with sprinklers – this is something the government did not do. Why? Because the cost of fitting sprinklers to all new-builds and retro-fitting sprinklers to all existing buildings, as far as the Tories are concerned, is too expensive, begging the question, what price life?

The Tory Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC), the Tenants Management Organisation who put the cladding up, Rydon the company that did the refurbishment, Arconic the company that made the flammable cladding and Celotex which made the flammable insulation must be held responsible for the deaths of the 72 people in the Grenfell Tower fire.

They should stand trial and be jailed.

As well, when Tory PM Johnson was London Mayor he closed ten fire stations in London, axed 552 firefighters’ jobs and got rid of 14 fire engines.

What has become apparent to millions of people living in the UK is that capitalism will go any length to make profits. The number of workers’ lives lost in the process is of no concern.

This has been heavily underlined in the last months during the coronavirus pandemic. Big business and a section of the Tories insist that there has been too much insistence on lockdowns when the existence of their companies is at stake.

Meanwhile, those in low-skilled jobs, in the care sector or other service jobs – are most at risk and three times more likely to die from Covid as those in professional occupations.

Men working as security staff, machine operatives, restaurant managers, chefs, taxi drivers, nursing assistants, local government administrators, nurses and bus drivers all had much higher Covid-19 mortality rates.

Women working as machine operatives, sewing machinists, care workers, home carers, social workers, sales and retail assistants, nursing assistants, nurses and civil servants also all had higher rates of death due to the virus.

At least 930 health and care workers have died of Covid-19. In total 130,000 people have died in the UK from coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak, out of a population of 66.65 million.

Meanwhile, China, which made fighting the virus its number one concern, has suffered 4,636 deaths from coronavirus out of a population of 1.398 billion.

The Grenfell fire catastrophe and coronavirus disaster emphasise that it is capitalism that must go, and that its replacement by a socialist nationalised and planned economy is a matter of life or death. Forward to Socialism!