Mr. Bob, the leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, has died at the age of 52.
In a statement, the RMT said, “It is with the deepest regret that RMT has to confirm that our general secretary Bob Crow sadly passed away in the early hours of this morning. It would request that all media respect the privacy of the friends and family of Bob Crow at this time.”
Mr Crow was elected general secretary of the RMT in 2002 following the death of former leader Jimmy Knapp. London Mayor Boris Johnson, with whom he clashed over plans for the Tube, said: “I am shocked. Bob Crow was a fighter and a man of character.” The BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson said Mr Crow “was, some argue, the most successful union leader in terms of securing jobs and pay for his members”.
Only a day before his death, he told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme that MPs deserved a pay rise. Former Mayor, Ken Livingstone said, “The leader had fought really hard for his members despite being demonised by the right wing press.I assumed he would be at my funeral not me at his.”
Livingstone told Sky News: “He fought really hard for his members. The only working-class people who still have well-paid jobs in London are his members. He broadly right on most key issues, adding that if more people had fought for the conditions of the working classes this country would be a much better place”.
Mr Crow was born in 1961 in east London, got his first job on the underground at the age of 16, fixing rails and cutting down trees on the track. Last month, he joined his members on the picket line during a Tube strike, called in protest at the mayor’s plan to close ticket offices.
Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, which also took part in the strike, said, “Bob Crow was admired by his members and feared by employers, which is exactly how he liked it. It was a privilege to campaign and fight alongside him because he never gave an inch.”
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said he was “an outstanding trade unionist, who tirelessly fought for his members, his industry and the wider trade union movement”. Many MPs also took to Twitter to pay tribute to Mr Crow. Labour’s John McDonnell wrote, “In Bob Crow we have lost one of the finest trade union leaders and socialists our movement has known. I am devastated by this tragic news.”