The news about Bob Crow came as a bit of a shock today, and I’ll admit that a large part of that is the normal reaction of any 51-year-old hearing about a 52-year-old’s sudden death.
I was never in Bob’s union, but I have plenty to thank him for. When I worked for the railways the company would offer us a measly pay increase and say it was because they couldn’t afford any more. My union would say “OK. If that is all you can afford then we’ll accept it”. The RMT (and ASLEF of course) would kick off a bit and suddenly the company would manage to find another 1% which we all got.
Along with Billy Bragg and Tony Benn, Crow was a regular fixture at the Tolpuddle festival. The photo on the left is one I took at the 2010 festival.
He was never going to win any popularity contest amongst commuters, but he was probably better at his job than nearly all of them, if you base that judgement on getting results and doing exactly what you are employed to do.
Of course, his job was made easier by the fact that so many of the people working in his industry actually join a union, a point that is usually missed by people who complain about how well train drivers get paid, while doing nothing to help themselves. It just shows what you can do when you all chip in together.