The above is a phrase the media trots out regularly, but unless you know someone you can’t feel it, and I didn’t know Bob Crow.
I had met him though and his decisions were very crucial in the formation of our union.
I had become aware in my public service employment of the failures of the Transport & General Workers Union – now known as Unite.
Unite took my money for about five or six years.
In protest I joined RMT, Bob Crow’s union.
Many London bus drivers joined @ the same time as I did.
However we ran into a problem: the Unite General Secretary objected to Bob Crow “poaching” his members, claiming there was a trade union convention for RMT not to recruit bus drivers inside the M25.
So Bob sent us a letter, telling us all to go back to Unite.
That is the genesis of Employees Representatives – our refusal to take Bob Crow’s advice!!
Bob Crow, the tough guy, the take on all comers union boss… had feet of clay when it came to falling out with Unite or the TUC.
But in no way did that difference of view diminish our respect for him.
His walking out of a meeting @ the Labour Party Conference when Tony Blair was due to speak – his eventual decision to disassociate his union from the Labour Party altogether, all this I applauded.
He saw the malevolent streak of fascism in Tony Blair’s eyes, the skull cap, heard the screams of the dying, Blair’s oration (still to be given) to the butcher of Sabra & Shatilla.
So I too feel a sense of loss.
RIP Comrade Bob