It is with great sadness that we have learned of the sudden death of RMT General Secretary Bob Crow at the age of just 52. He was a trade union leader like no other constantly fighting and winning for his members.
Bob came from a humble background leaving school at 16 to work on the railways. He progressed through the forerunners of the RMT becoming a national officer and then General Secretary of the RMT in 2002. For ten years he led the union never giving an inch to the bosses. From the tunnels of the London Underground to the oil rigs of the North Sea, workers represented by Bob had enormous respect for his methods as they saw their pay and conditions improve under his leadership.
Aside from his Trade Union work Bob was passionate about international issues and local social justice. He supoorted the Tomlinson family after Ian (a fellow supporter of his beloved Millwall) was killed by the Police at the G20 protests in London. He was also an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian cause and a vociferous critic of the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
RMT organiser Mac McKenna who spoke at our last REEL NEWS monthly event said: “They hated him; the chancers and the spivs, the privatisers and the bullies, the toffs and the Tories, they all despised him, cos he wouldn’t be ‘reasonable’, he wouldn’t be ‘modern’, he wouldn’t accept that ‘the market’ was best. Instead, he led a trade union that tried, very successfully at times, to defend its members interests, save jobs, push up pay and improve conditions. At a time of stagnating or declining trade union membership, the RMT grew; and it grew because workers could see the RMT was prepared to fight. Proper fight. Not just words and resolutions, but strike action, and Bob would go on TV and defend his members for taking strike action and lay the blame firmly on the bosses. When a Circle line train driver was sacked for playing squash while off sick, Bob turned up at his press conference and presented the driver with a new squash racquet. It was that sort of ‘fuck you’ that made it worth being in the RMT. So long Bob, it was a privilege to be a part of the fight with you.”
Bob leaves behind a proud legacy. Although his life was cut painfully short, his last great battle to save jobs and ticket offices on London Underground saw massive public support and tory mayor Boris Johnson humiliated. His example will be the — toughest of acts to follow. Our thoughts are with his family and comrades.