In a poignant speech, Unite delegate and brother of a fire fighter Jame Mitchell spoke in support of a TUC motion on the Grenfell Tower disaster in Brighton today (10 September).
He said, “Congress, we lost members of our Unite family at Grenfell and we continue to share the pain of the community and of our FBU comrades who rushed to their aid. Even as recently as yesterday, 125 firefighters have been saving lives at Worcester Park – our solidarity is with them.
“Our movement is built on the belief that an injury to one is the concern of all. I am proud that my union has risen to that ideal.
Over the past two years Unite ensured that our members were registered as Core Participants to the Grenfell Inquiry.”
Highlighting the union’s calls for an immediate ban on the use of combustible materials on high rise blocks, Mitchell said that lessons from the Grenfell Tower disaster had still not been learned.
“Just as the warnings of Grenfell residents were ignored before the fire, so the lessons that should have been taken from their deaths are going unheeded. It is staggering that two years later at least 2,000 public buildings continue to be wrapped in the same dangerous cladding.
“The bitter truth remains that Grenfell was not some act of god – a tragedy which couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen. It was the result of decisions taken by people in authority. By people prepared for others to shoulder the risk.
“By people – and out of respect for the dead I will not mince my words – by people who are guilty and must be dragged from the shadows into the light of justice.”
Mitchell added that for justice to be done for the victims of the fire “each and every individual in the chain of responsibility – from ministers downwards” must be held to account.
He added, “Two years may have passed but we have not forgotten and we will not forget.”