Coventry Socialist Party held a public meeting in Hillfields about a new campaign for housing safety in Coventry on 1 August.
Attendees included a number of local residents from tower blocks across Coventry. They were all keen not just to highlight their own concerns and experiences but also to get involved and take action in organising a campaign on housing safety. This is an issue which has really come to the forefront in the wake of the Grenfell disaster.
Local residents raised issues such as fire alarms being removed from tower blocks and housing provider Whitefriars charging tenants for repairs – up to £600 in some cases!
One of the main proposals of the meeting – to get local residents organised in tenants’ groups – was well received, with plans now underway to have tenants of different tower blocks organise door-knocking and petitioning of other residents in their own flats.
The demands discussed include the fitting of sprinklers in all tower blocks. The vital importance of a fully-functioning sprinkler system was shown in the difference between the fire at Grenfell Tower and in a hotel in Dubai – a very similar structure but for a sprinkler system – in 2016. In the latter, nobody was killed.
It’s clear that pressure must also be put on local landlords to fully enforce the highest safety standards across all housing in Coventry – private or social – and pressure should be put on local councillors to help tenants organise and fight for our rights.
We have to link these issues to the overall demand to bring all housing back under public ownership.
This is also linked to our demands to change society along socialist lines, to bring all infrastructure and the economy into the democratic control of working class people.
For a society run for people, not profit!