Bob Crow 1961 – 2014
Nautilus International has paid tribute to Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime & Transport union (RMT), following his sudden death at the age of 52.
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said he was deeply shocked by the unexpected news. ‘Bob’s drive and commitment to his members was remarkable and he was a tenacious and tireless fighter for the cause of British shipping and seafaring,’ he said.
‘He was a man of principle and passion, and we were proud to work with him on a wide range of campaigns to defend jobs and conditions, and to secure more investment in the employment and training of British seafarers.
‘Behind Bob’s public persona was a really decent bloke – someone who I came to respect as a man of deep principle and determination. He was a formidable negotiator,’ Mr Dickinson added. ‘He will be missed and my sincere condolences are extended to his friends, family colleagues, and his partner, Nicola.’
Mr Crow, who became leader of the RMT in 2002, left school at the age of 16 and his first job was with the London underground, as an apprentice track worker. He became a local representative for the then National Union of Railwaymen at the age of 20.
Commenting on the tragic news of Bob Crow’s death, CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: “Bob Crow was a great leader and he was a great inspiration to rail workers and trade unionists around the world.
“Bob will be greatly missed. He will be remembered for his passion, his commitment and his endless pursuit for social justice. His death is a tragedy and I would like to send my deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
ITF acting general secretary Stephen Cotton said: “Bob was such a vital, tough, campaigning tower of strength that it’s almost impossible to believe that he is no longer with us. Bob was many things: a true fighter for workers’ rights, an internationalist and an inspiration to the last. He was also a close personal friend. We are all now wishing his partner and children well even as we try to accept his passing.
“His family’s loss is also his members’ loss and the world trade union community’s loss. Bob’s untimely death has left a giant gap in our lives, both personal and as a global activist. He never faltered from the certainty that the global trade union movement could make a difference to workers’ lives. His work mobilising international support for workers, including those of Cuba and Palestine, will live on.”
ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “Bob Crow was a worker and a leader of the working women and men in his union, in his country and in the world. His unassailable courage, moral persistence , generosity of spirit and inevitable humour inspired and encouraged trade unionists, civil rights advocates and politically progressive human beings in every field of endeavour to be more effective and try harder for a better and more equitable life for all, regardless of race, gender, age or material circumstance
“Bob was unrelenting in the active prosecution of this vision of a better world. His commitment started with the seafarers and rail workers of his union the RMT and flowed inexorably into the lives of all working people seeking affirmation and justice in the face of often extraordinary deprivation and persecution.
“He spoke with the honesty and directness of his actions and commitments. He was above all a family man who understood that the real wealth and value of our lives also springs from a loving nurturing of those closest to us: our parents, partners children and extended family.
“Our deepest and most sincere sympathies and thoughts reach out to his wife Nicky and children at this most tragic and heart-wrenching point, in the hope that this may ease their great pain in some way.
“Vale Bob our great friend and comrade, constant source of our determination for a more just and humane world. A man greatly loved, respected and admired by all those that believe that the workplace and communities of our lives belong to the many and not just the few. A man of family and friendship. A true internationalist and constant advocate for peace and true justice for all. Now at rest”
Commenting on the news, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said:
“Everyone at the EIS, and in the wider trade union movement, has been deeply shocked and saddened today on hearing of the sudden death of RMT General Secretary Bob Crow. Having had the opportunity to work with Bob for the past two years on the TUC General Council, I know that he was a highly effective leader and a committed trade unionist who was dedicated to the service of his members. He is a huge loss to the RMT and to trade unionism. The thoughts of all at the EIS are with Bob’s family, friends, colleagues, as well as with RMT members at this very sad time.”
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