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Remembering rail union legend, Bob Crow

Mar 13, 2014News

In the early hours of Tuesday 11 March, legendary UK union leader Bob Crow died of a heart attack, aged 52.

A formidable and divisive character in UK politics, Bob started working for London Transport as a tree-feller at age 16 and went on to become General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and an executive board member of the global body for transport workers – the International Transport Workers Federation.

Bob began his union career in 1983, when he was elected as the local representative to, what was then called, the Nation Union of Railwaymen (NUR). When the NUR merged with the National Union of Seamen to form the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) in 1990, Bob was instrumental in the process. He became the Assistant General Secretary the year after and was elected General Secretary in 2002, with an overwhelming majority.

In his time as General Secretary, RMT became the fastest growing union in the UK with membership increasing from around 57,000 in 2002 to more than 80,000 in 2008. He also worked tirelessly to make fairer pay and conditions for workers across the industry.

Many high-profile figures have weighed in on the loss.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said, “I’m shocked. Bob Crow was a fighter and a man of character… Whatever our political differences, and there were many, this is tragic news. Bob fought tirelessly for his beliefs and for his members.”

Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband said “He did what he was elected to do, was not afraid of controversy and was always out supporting his members across the country.”

The Loco Division would like to express its sorrow at the loss of the highly respected union leader.