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This Sunday – Go Green for Grenfell, commemorate the loved ones lost and join the fight for justice

This Sunday marks the third anniversary of the horrific fire and dreadful loss of 72 lives at the Grenfell Tower building in Kensington, west London, and as our union joins the commemorations, we also add our voice to demands for justice and change.

Previous commemorations – which CWU members have taken part in – have involved mass silent walks of remembrance from outside Notting Hill Methodist Church organised by the ‘Justice4Grenfell’ campaign, led by families of those who died and members of the local community.

But this Sunday, the commemoration will take a different format, with organisers asking the public to join them from home for a virtual church service at 1pm, conversations and reflections from the community and guests during the afternoon and early evening, and then a ‘Grenfell United Remembrance’ at 6pm, when church bells across London will toll 72 times to remember the loved ones lost in the terrible fire.

And at 10.30pm, people are being asked to ‘Go Green for Grenfell’ by joining with others around the country in beaming a green light from their homes.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward says: “We’re strongly urging our members to join in with these commemorative events to pay respect to the 72 poor souls who lost their lives in this horrible fire three years ago. Please join these online events and take part in ‘Go Green for Grenfell’ as well.”

Dave also highlights the decision by the council to choose a cheaper and dangerous option to reclad this building, saying: “Those responsible for this must be brought to account.

“And it’s yet another scandal that, three years on, there are still some 300 high-rise residential buildings, many thousands of households that still have dangerous external cladding similar to that used on Grenfell Tower.”

The CWU is also backing the campaign to write to MPs demanding that this is actioned immediately.

CWU head of equality, education & development Kate Hudson points out that it is also important to remember that the victims of this fire mostly came from minority BAME communities and that this is also a factor in the inequality of our society.

“There continues to be injustice for these families, as three years on, there are still a number of families who are yet to be permanently housed. The vast majority of the victims in the Grenfell disaster were BAME, equally a significant proportion were women,” says Kate.

“We’ll continue supporting the Justice4Grenfell campaign in their ongoing fight – these Grenfell tenants must be appropriately re-housed and this must be done with urgency.

“The CWU will not forget the Grenfell disaster and as long as issues of structural racism continue to affect those communities that have suffered, we will continue to campaign on their behalf.”

  • What started as a small fire in a fridge-freezer in a fourth-floor residential flat spread with terrifying speed to the rest of the 24-storey block – flames reaching the roof in just over half an hour – due to the flammable exterior cladding that had been attached the previous year to Grenfell Tower.

  • The cladding consisted of two thin aluminium sheets either side of a polyethylene core and were attached with a 50-millimetre (two inch) gap from new foam insulation pads that were mounted directly onto the original exterior of the 1974-constructed building.

  • When the fourth-floor fire reached the outside of the tower, this new external structure caused a ‘chimney effect’ – quickly catching alight itself and ‘channelling’ the flames rapidly upwards.

  • Had the 2016 ‘renovation’ not been done, it is believed by many that it is unlikely that the fire would have spread far beyond its original source.

The CWU is also backing the campaign to write to MPs demanding that this is actioned immediately.

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