I have just switched on the news to hear that Bob Crow, the General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union has died at the pathetically early age of 52.
Most people have had reason to curse Bob Crow over the years, as it seems there has been an incessant flow of strikes on the railway since he took over. Well 12 years ago, when I was a Conductor on Southeastern I was on the picket line myself. Southeastern had proposed turning more of the network DOO (Driver Only Operation) and we were fighting for our roles, responsibilities and jobs. Bob Crow personally supported our stance, and we reached a satisfactory compromise where no jobs were lost and there was no increase in trains without a Conductor. I have no doubt that without Bob Crow the working conditions of ALL railway workers would be a lot worse, and there wouldn't be nearly the number of staff there are.
Yes, Bob could be beligerent at times, downright bloody minded at others, and the strikes have inconvenienced millions. But to get results sometimes you have to play dirty, tough and above all stand firm, and Lord knows what state the railway would be if it hadn't been for him. I very much doubt we will see a Union leader like Bob Crow again. Rest in peace, brother.
|Bob Crow 1961 - 2014|