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Bob Crow at Industri Energis Styrke conference 2012
13 June 1961 |
|Occupation||Trade union leader|
Robert Crow (born 13 June 1961), who is better known as Bob Crow, is a British trade union leader, the General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and a member of the General Council of the TUC. He describes himself as a "communist/socialist" and is regarded as part of the so-called "Awkward Squad" - the loose grouping of left-wing union leaders who came to power in a series of electoral victories beginning in 2002. Since he became leader RMT's membership increased from around 57,000 in 2002 to more than 80,000 in 2008, making it one of Britain's fastest growing trade unions.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Trade union career and politics
- 3 Personal life
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Crow was born in Shadwell, east London. He is the son of George Crow, and Lillian Hutton. The family moved to Hainault while he was an infant. He attended Kingswood Upper School with his share trader, older brother Richard (a secondary modern school which merged with the Grange School in 1982 to become Hainault Forest High School) on Harbourer Road (near Hainault Forest Country Park) until the age of sixteen when he left school. While he was working for London Transport as a member of a tree-felling gang based at Loughton, he started to become involved in union politics. In 1983 he was elected as a local representative to the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) and then, in 1985, he became NUR national officer for track workers.
Trade union career and politics
In 1990 the National Union of Railwaymen merged with the National Union of Seamen to form the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), and the following year Crow became London Underground representative on the National Executive. In 1991 he became assistant general secretary and on 14 February 2002 Crow was elected by the membership to succeed Jimmy Knapp as General Secretary. He received 12,051 votes in the election — nearly twice as many as the other two candidates put together (Phil Bialyk received 4,512 votes and Ray Spry-Shute received 1,997). Six weeks earlier on 1 January 2002, Crow was attacked outside his home by two men wielding an iron bar. He speculated that he was the victim of hired employer muscle.
As of 2009, Bob Crow's basic salary at RMT was £94,747; a 12% increase from the previous year. His entire pay package with bonuses and pensions was £133,138; on top of this he claimed £9,989 in expenses and £2,376 in travel costs. He has been criticised for living in a council subsided house, despite his six figure salary.  
Communist Party and Socialist Labour Party
Crow was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and then the Communist Party of Britain after the CPGB's dissolution, between 1983 and 1995, when he left to join Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party (SLP). He has since left the SLP, though he remains an admirer of Scargill, and is no longer a member of any political party, although he gave his support to the now disbanded Socialist Alliance, and believes all socialist parties should unite. In the 2005 general election, he endorsed Robert Griffiths, the Communist Party of Britain's candidate in Pontypridd, calling him "a champion of workers' rights". Griffiths went on to win 233 votes (0.6%), coming in last place out of the six candidates. In the 2010 Local Election he publicly supported the directly elected Mayoral candidate in the London Borough of Hackney Monty Goldman and the candidate for Leabridge Ward Mick Carty.
Campaign for a New Workers' Party
Crow was an outspoken critic of Tony Blair who "squandered a massive landslide from an electorate hungry for change, poured billions of public pounds into private pockets and accelerated the growing gap between rich and poor". Speaking at the founding conference of the National Shop Stewards Network in July 2007 Crow called for a new party for the working class. This was repeated at the NSSN and Campaign for a New Workers' Party conference in 2008.
Transport for London
In response to the RMT declaring a 48-hour strike on 10 June 2009, Crow wrote in The Guardian Comment is free section the purpose of the move: "On London Underground, bosses are threatening to tear up an agreement aimed at safeguarding jobs, and have refused to rule out compulsory redundancies. Up to 4,000 jobs are at risk as part of a multi billion pound cuts package that can be traced directly back to the collapse of Metronet and the failure of the PPP."
"RMT have made it clear we expect managers to abide by the existing job security agreements and we would simply not be doing our job as a union if we allowed the tube to treat our members as cannon fodder who can be hired and fired at will", adding that "It wasn't our members who created the downturn and we will not be bullied into accepting that they should be forced to pay for an economic crisis that was cooked up by the bankers and the politicians."
No to EU – Yes to Democracy
In March 2009, Crow announced that the RMT would be fronting the No to EU – Yes to Democracy platform with an array of socialist organisations and individuals for the 2009 European Parliament elections. No2EU — Yes to Democracy stood for a Europe of "independent, democratic states that value its public services and does not offer them to profiteers; a Europe that guarantees the rights of workers and does not put the interests of big business above that of ordinary people".
As the party leader and lead candidate in London has said, he was "not against workers coming into the country", unlike other Eurosceptic groupings, but he is against "two workers from different countries competing against each other on different rates of pay" and added that "Our main role will be out there among working people, giving them our support and helping to save their industries from privatisation".
No2EU secured 153,236 votes, compared to an RMT membership of 80,000. The party achieved 1% of the popular vote in Britain, giving them the 12th largest share of the vote, behind Scargill's Socialist Labour Party and the far-right British National Party. This was insufficient for a seat in the European Parliament. In London, where Crow was a candidate, the party secured 17,758 votes, equating to the tenth largest share of the vote. In this region No2EU secured a larger share of the popular vote than the Socialist Labour Party.
Bob Crow and Israel/Palestine
Bob Crow has been patron of Palestine Solidarity Campaign for many years. He is a supporter of the Palestinians. He has shown solidarity with workers sacked in Israel, and has condemned the assault on Gaza in 2009.
Crow lives with his partner in Woodford, Greater London. He has another daughter, Kerrie Anne Crow, from a previous marriage to Geraldine Horan. He is a declared atheist and has supported Millwall Football Club since he was a boy.
News of the World phone hacking suspicions
Lawyers acting for Crow have written to the Metropolitan Police asking for any evidence or information that they may have uncovered in respect of the News of the World. Crow has suspicions that "journalists may have had access to private information about my movements and my union's activities that date back to the year 2000".
- 'If anybody says it is nice to be hated, they're lying', The Guardian, 20 June 2009
- According to Oliver Morgan in The Observer, 17 February 2002: "Crow's is the demeanour of a growing number of radical leaders in their forties who see little point in being nicely turned out and moderate merely to keep in power a party that ignores the interests of their members".
- Bob Crow: workers' friend?, BBC, 5 September 2007
- "RMT Membership passes 80,000". RMT Union. Retrieved 2010-07-21.
- BBC News, Rail union leader attacked, 4 January 2002
- Arriving now, Comrade Bob, Observer, 17 February 2002
- What future for unions? (2005 interview)
- Crow backs Communist candidates (2010 press release)
- "He squandered a massive landslide from an electorate hungry — Bob Crow quote". Saidwhat.co.uk. 15 December 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
- "Campaign for a New Workers' Party". Cnwp.org.uk. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
- . Transport for London. 28 May 2009 http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/media/newscentre/11854.aspx. Retrieved 2009-06-04. Missing or empty
- "RMT announces strike dates as Tube and TfL workers vote overwhelmingly for action over pay and job cuts". RMT. 28 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
- Bob Crow (9 June 2009). "Tube workers won't be bullied". The Guardian (London).
- Brian Wheeler (22 May 2009). "Crow launches NO2EU euro campaign". BBC News.
- "European Election 2009: UK Results". BBC. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- "European Election 2009: London". BBC. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- "Palestine Solidarity Campaign". Palestinecampaign.org. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "Israeli Trade Unionists Say Stop The War In Gaza". Socialist Unity. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "Millwall". socialistworker.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "Bob Crow asks police to investigate phone-hacking suspicions". The Guardian. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
- BBC profile
- The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT)
- "Rail union leader praises communist 'workers' champion'"
- Hainault Forest High School
|General Secretary of the RMT