Shadwell-born Bob Crow, controversial leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union and one of the most well-known trade union leaders in the country, has died, age 52.
Crow, who has been general secretary of the RMT since 2002, is suspected to have died in the early hours of Tuesday morning of a heart attack at Whipps Cross hospital in Waltham Forest.
The passionate Millwall supporter spoke on the BBC Radio 4 PM program yesterday evening arguing for a rise in MP’s wages.
Crow was well known to Londoners as leader of the union representing the bulk of London Underground drivers and other staff and was often villified for his uncompromising stance on pay and conditions for his members. He led a recent two day strike by Tube workers in the long running dispute over plans to modernise ticket offices.
A statement from the RMT website said: “It is with the deepest regret that RMT has to confirm that our general secretary Bob Crow sadly passed away in the early hours of this morning.”
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association union who recently coordinated rail strikes with the RMT said he was “devastated” with Crow’s “untimely death”.
He said: “My thoughts are with his family, friends and our sisters and brothers within the RMT. RIP comrade.”
Mayor Boris Johnson said that Crow, despite being misunderstood by the public, was an important figure in London politics.
“Bob was the guy to go to when there was a deal to be done. In the end we would have got to a sensible position on the recent proposal to modernise ticket offices.”
Crow was elected as General Secretary of the RMT in 2002, following long union service, including a post as a local representative for the National Union for Railwaymen at the age of 20.
He was born in Shadwell in 1961 and left school at the age of 16, working on the railways for the rest of his life. His first job was as an apprentice track worker on the Underground.
By Jamie Wright & Erlend Evans