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RIP Bob Crow 1961-2014

13/03/2014
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Bob Crow in Brighton on Saturday 8 March 2014 (c) Morten Watkins

Bob Crow in Brighton on Saturday 8 March 2014; (c) Morten Watkins

 

Much has been written about Bob Crow since his sudden and tragically early death on Tuesday 11 March 2014 and our thoughts remain with his family, friends and all RMT members.  A book of condolences is available to sign online and at RMT’s London headquarters.

Just three days earlier Sussex LRC had been delighted to host Bob at Brighton’s celebration of the 30th anniversary of the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike where, in characteristic style, Bob emphasised the need to carry on the fight:

“This year’s 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike is not only an opportunity to mark the extraordinary courage and determination of the mining communities in the teeth of the full force of a state-sponsored operations to break them, but also gives us a chance to ignite the same kind of fighting spirit and unity that we need to counter the attacks that the unions and the working class are under today.”  (Bob Crow, speaking in Brighton, Saturday 8 March 2014)

Bob Crow in Brighton on Saturday 8 March 2014; (c) Morten Watkins

Bob Crow in Brighton on Saturday 8 March 2014;
(c) Morten Watkins

Bob was one of the most successful union leaders of our time, whose leadership made the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) one of the UK’s fastest growing trades unions. Bob’s passing is a devastating loss both to the labour movement in the UK and to workers across the world.  In a wonderful tribute by Mark Serwotka, the PCS General Secretary describes Bob as “the greatest trade union leader of his generation”, adding:

“Bob was without doubt a towering force in our movement. He represented the very best of trade unionism… His death leaves a very large hole but I hope we don’t just mourn – Bob would have been the first to denounce us if we did.  I hope his legacy is a wider recognition that we need more people like Bob. People who fight tirelessly for rights at work, to improve pay and conditions, and against the relentless drive of privatisation that has proved so damaging to our rail industry that was so close to Bob’s heart… I will miss him, the union movement will miss him and, if we don’t pick up where he left off, society will be the poorer for his death.”  (Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, PCS)

Other notable tributes include a touching short piece by Kevin Maguire in The Mirror:

“I loved spending time with him. Over a drink or dinner you’d have a bloody good discussion and laugh like a drain.  He was intelligent, irreverent, had a heart of gold and a surprisingly soft handshake… Right-whingers who portayed him as a union dinosaur exposed their own prejudice.  He’d roar at them with laughter.  I can’t believe he’s gone at 52.  RIP a working class hero.”  (Kevin Maguire)

Sussex LRC Chair, Claire Wadey, listens to Bob Crow speaking in Brighton on Saturday 8 March 2014

Sussex LRC Chair, Claire Wadey, listens to Bob Crow speaking in Brighton on Saturday 8 March 2014

A grateful Jeremy Corbyn MP also wrote in the Morning Star:

“Bob was always on his members’ side.  We can remember Bob as someone who always stood up for others and who showed that even in difficult times for the labour movement, union membership can grow.  Thanks, Bob, for you all you did.”  (Jeremy Corbyn MP)

Bob Crow was undoubtedly one of the greatest trades union leaders of our time, and will be remembered especially fondly by those who worked and campaigned with him for public ownership of the railways, justice for Britain’s mineworkers, trade union freedoms, Cuba Solidarity, and the many other causes to which Bob gave his time and energy so selflessly.

It has been truly unbelievable for many of us to grasp that such a forceful and vibrant person is no longer with us.

RIP Bob Crow 1961-2014 – a leader and comrade who would say mourn, yes; but then organise and fightback!

Bob Crow outside the Brighton Friends' Meeting House on Saturday 8 March 2014; (c) Morten Watkins

Bob Crow outside the Brighton Friends’ Meeting House on Saturday 8 March 2014; (c) Morten Watkins

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