Five years after Grenfell tragedy, firefighters’ job cuts continue

Five years on: fire safety issues raised after the Grenfell Tower tragedy on June 14, 2017, have not been addressed

On the anniversary of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in which 72 people died in 2017, the Fire Brigades Union has revealed that another 221 firefighter positions have been cut.

The union says that these latest job cuts come after several years before Grenfell when the nation’s fire and rescue services had already suffered significant job cuts: more than 11,000 fire brigade roles were cut between 2010 and 2017.

The job cuts include fire control staff as well as firefighters.

Matt Wrack, the Fire Brigades Union general secretary, said, “Despite the worst UK domestic fire in living memory, the government is still failing to change direction and take fire safety and the fire service seriously.

“It is an insult to the people who lost their lives and it is an insult to the Grenfell community.

“None of this is a surprise. Central government let Grenfell be turned into a fire trap and has done nothing to fix the building safety crisis since. We should not take our eye off just how heartless you have to be to see an incident like Grenfell and then continue on a path like this.

“They are gambling with lives.”

Firefighters from brigades across the country are marking the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell disaster today by participating in the silent walk organised and led by the bereaved, survivors and residents of Grenfell to express solidarity with the local community.

The silent walks, which have taken place in the five years since the disaster, are held to mark those who lost their lives and call for justice for the disaster. To date, no one has faced criminal charges.

Silent walk: tonight’s Grenfell walk will be poignant

Wrack said that firefighters and the Grenfell community “have a bond that was forged in tragedy”. He said, “The Fire Brigades Union stands in solidarity with all bereaved, survivors and residents.”

At the silent walk, firefighters local to Grenfell, some of whom will have responded to the disaster themselves, will form a guard of honour for the community.

“It’s been five years since the Grenfell Tower fire and the thoughts and wishes go out from all London firefighters and fire control staff personnel to the survivors and friends and family of those who lost their lives in this appalling incident,” said Pete Wolfenden, a firefighter who was among the LFB teams who responded to the Grenfell Tower fire.

“We also remember the brave and courageous members of all the emergency services who attended on the night and subsequent days, some of who still suffer Ill health and bear the mental scars of attending that traumatic incident.”

Details of the walk can be found here:

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