Bob Crow, the General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union in Great Britain died from a brain aneurysm and heart attack in London on 11 March. He was aged 52. The following is the text of a message of condolence sent by the ACTU to the British Trades Union Congress:
We were shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of Bob Crow, the General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, on 11 March.
Bob was an outstanding trade unionist, who was both a shining light of traditional labour values and a great friend of Australian unions.
He was a true champion of working people not only in Britain, but throughout the world.
Bob’s record speaks for itself: the membership of the RMT grew by a third during the 12 years of his leadership at a time when union density in general is in decline.
Bob’s legacy will be that railway workers are now among the best paid public sector employees in Britain – or, as Ken Livingstone put it: “the only working-class people who still have well-paid jobs in London are his members”.
But just as importantly, he has shown that there is a place for militant unionism to stand up for working people in a modern economy that is frequently captive to the interests of a hostile business elite.
He was generous in his support for workers from other unions and industries in their struggles for rights, fairness, equality and a better life.
Bob was also a true internationalist, and the RMT under his guidance campaigned for workers’ and human rights throughout the world, but nowhere more so than in Latin America.
Through Bob, the RMT formed a close working relationship with Australian transport unions, and his loss has been particularly felt by the Maritime Union of Australia.
Please accept the condolences of the officers and executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and pass on our sympathy to the RMT and to Bob’s family.
Ged Kearney, President
Dave Oliver, Secretary